Keeping Our Promise to Veterans
I am continually working to ensure that veterans receive the health care and benefits they have been promised and deserve. Before Congress adjourned in December, we passed, with my support, an appropriations bill that included $3.7 billion in emergency funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The emergency funding is needed to meet the challenges the VA faces in 2008, including to reduce the backlog on benefit claims, to staff adequately regional offices, and to provide health care to veterans.
This is dependent on the President's decision to release the funding. To my disappointment, the President has yet to release the funds. The White House Press Secretary has said that the VA's budget is already "robust" and that the White House would "take a look at" the funding before releasing it.
So, once again, Congress must fight the President over VA funding. This is unacceptable. It is vital that the VA receive this emergency funding to ensure that the needs of our veterans, including those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, are being met. I recently joined a number of my colleagues in the House to write the President to request the immediate release of the $3.7 billion to the VA.
Help in the Transition to Digital Broadcasting
Starting on February 18, 2009, the television industry will stop broadcasting in analog and switch completely to digital broadcasting. Consumers who do not own a digital set and still get programming through an over-the-air antenna will no longer get a picture, unless they buy a special converter box.
To assist in this transition, Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after the February 18 transition date. This program allows households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, which can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. You can apply for a coupon through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at www.dtv2009.gov or by calling 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009). This coupon is available through March 31, 2009.
Please note that a TV connected to a cable, satellite or digital fiber optic box does not require a TV converter box from this program.
Invitations to Local Events
I always appreciate the opportunity to attend events, ceremonies, and meetings at schools, houses of worship, and social clubs in Central New Jersey. I am also always interested in touring local businesses and organizations to understand and appreciate how New Jerseyans live and work. If you would like to invite me to an event or tour, please contact Matthew Hall, my District Scheduler, at 609-750-9365.
Member of Congress