Annual Farm Tour a success
This week, I held my annual Farm Tour where I visit farms in the 16th Congressional District to keep in touch with the agricultural community. On Tuesday, I visited Luke Brubaker's farm in Mount Joy. The Brubaker farm is unique in that it is completely self-sustaining for the power needed to operate the farm. They use an innovative process that actually turns cow manure into electricity, by using an anerobic digester to break down the manure. As the manure is broken down, methane is released, which is then captured and burned in a generator to create electricity. In fact, the process produces more energy than the farm needsthe rest is sold back to the power grid, providing nearly 300 homes with electricity in the process. The waste that is leftover when the digesters are done is no longer waste. It is actually cleaner than saw dust, and the farm uses it as bedding for its animals. On Wednesday, I visited Norman Laffey's farm in Cochranville. It's a brand new 1,300 cow dairy farm with state of the art equipment. He was hosting an open house with a couple of hundred people there. I was pleased to be able to stop by for a tour and speak with people in the agricultural community about their thoughts and concerns.
Congress plans extra session to spend more money
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this week her intention to bring Congress back after the election for a "lame duck" session to take advantage of the economic crisis to pass a multi-billion dollar pork barrel "stimulus" bill. Though initial reports indicated it could be cost $150 billion, newspaper stories later in the week reported it could be closer to $300 billion. The bill would do little to help reduce the cost of energy or create an environment that allows businesses to create jobs. It would simply fulfill long sought Democratic special interests. The $300 billion will be on top of the $700 billion Congress just authorized as part of the financial bailout legislation.
Voter fraud on the taxpayer dime
ACORN, the left-wing advocacy group under investigation in nearly a dozen states for claims of voter registration fraud has received at least $31 million in federal funding from various federal agencies in the last decade. The group is under investigation by the FBI for a "coordinated national scam" of voter registration fraud. One of the grants to an ACORN affiliate was a 2007 award to ACORN Associates Inc. of Albuquerque, NM, titled "Education and Outreach Initiative/Subprime Lending Component," which appears to facilitate and encourage risky subprime loans, the same loans that many acknowledge as a contributing factor in the credit crisis.
Good news for families seeking adoptions
This week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), announced a new policy that will help parents who have been trying to adopt children from abroad. The policy change will allow parents who began the adoption process prior to April 1, 2008, to continue moving forward without starting over. I had been urging USCIS to make the important change. Due to unforeseen delays in international adoptions, if a change in the USCIS policy had not been made, families who had begun the application for adoption before full enactment of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of International Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) would have been forced to start the long process over again and re-apply under the Hague approved process. Prospective parents will still need to turn in an application that will bring their adoption in line with the Hague Convention, but they will not need to start over again, a prospect which would have cost a great deal of time and money.
Quote of the Week
"The American people are hurting. But they're not asking for pork-barrel spending masquerading as stimulus.' They're asking for reforms that create jobs, lower energy costs, and let them keep more of their own paychecks."
--Republican Leader John Boehner, in an op-ed appearing in the National Review.