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eNews - April 4 2008

What's Inside

1. Frelinghuysen in Colombia for trade and law enforcement talks
2. Update - FISA
3. Frelinghuysen brings Army Secretary Geren to Picatinny
4. Frelinghuysen Appropriations Subcommittee…
…..hears from FBI Director…
……and welcomes New Jersey expert witnesses.
5. Frelinghuysen hosts Titanic explorer in New Jersey
6. Spread the eNews!

Frelinghuysen in Colombia for trade and law enforcement talks

This weekend Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen has traveled with the U.S. government senior trade official, Trade Representative Susan Schwab, to Colombia, South America to meet with President Alvaro Uribe and other senior leaders on trade and commerce issues.

In coming weeks, President Bush is expected to present the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement for the approval of the House and Senate. Colombia has long enjoyed renewable tariff-free access to the U.S. market; the agreement would make that permanent. In exchange, American producers in New Jersey and other states would, for the first time, get the same tariff-free terms when they export to Colombia. The agreement contains labor and environmental protections much like those that Congress has already approved in other trade pacts.

"Colombia has been a staunch U.S. ally in many key areas," said Frelinghuysen. "A vote for the Colombia agreement will not only be a boost for New Jersey's exporters, but it will show Latin America that a staunch U.S. ally will be rewarded for improving its human rights record and resisting the anti-American policies of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and others."

Frelinghuysen, Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, will also meet with U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials.

Update - FISA

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expired in mid-February, leaving the United States with dangerous gaps in its intelligence gathering capabilities.

"Every day that passes without Congressional action, we lose critical intelligence that help us track foreign terrorists quickly and effectively," said Rep. Frelinghuysen. "The fact that the leadership is thwarting the will of a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate is incredibly dangerous."

The FISA bill, which cleared the Senate 68-29 over six weeks ago and is supported by a bipartisan majority in the House, would give U.S. intelligence officials all the tools they need to protect American interests.

"I urge Speaker Pelosi to listen to the 68 senators - of both parties - who passed the FISA modernization bill," he added. "Listen to 25 State Attorneys-General who support the bill. Listen to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV), who helped write the bill and warned us of the consequences of not acting on it. And listen to the American people, who are counting on both parties to do the right thing and work together to protect them."

In the meantime, the White House and top Congressional Democrat apparently have agreed to hold discussions over reenactment of FISA. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that, "based on conversations'' with White House officials during the Spring recess, negotiations with the administration are possible. But it was unclear whether the discussions would lead to any substantial progress.

Frelinghuysen brings Army Secretary to Picatinny

Accepting an invitation extended by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren visited Picatinny Arsenal late last week. Geren was briefed by senior Arsenal officials on Picatinny's contributions to the Global War on Terror and the current and future warfighting capabilities of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

"I believe Secretary Geren was very impressed by the important contributions to our national security made by the people and programs at Picatinny," said Frelinghuysen. "He saw how Picatinny's laboratories and other high technology facilities provide important support for our war against violent international extremists."

During the tour and briefings, Geren thanked Picatinny employees for their efforts, telling scientists and engineers at the Arsenals's Davidson Warhead Technology Facility, "It's good you're on our side."

"The message to Secretary Geren was clear: this Arsenal is a true national asset," said Frelinghuysen. "It's important that senior military officials hear its story and see its operations first-hand."

Frelinghuysen Appropriations Subcommittee…

…..hears from FBI Director…

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) this week conducted an oversight hearing on the budget for the FBI. Director Robert Mueller spelled out how the agency plans to utilize $7.1 billion for fiscal year that begins next October. This total marks an increase of $447.6 million. CJS ranking member Rodney Frelinghuysen criticized some of the Bureau's recent missteps but said he has "great faith in the work of the FBI." He lauded Mueller for having "done your level best" to keep the FBI moving forward.

……and welcomes New Jersey expert witnesses.

Three witnesses from New Jersey outlined their support for programs under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee. Barbara Price, Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, testified in support of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on behalf of victims of domestic violence. Beth McGrath, Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology, testified in support for the National Science Foundation and K-12 education. Alice White, Vice President of the Bell Labs North America (Alactel-Lucent), testified in support for science programs in the federal budget.

Frelinghuysen hosts Titanic explorer in New Jersey

Nearly 1,000 Morris and Essex high school and middle school students gathered Monday to hear tales of scientific exploration and discovery from the man credited with finding the wreck of the Titanic. Renowned underwater explorer Dr. Robert Ballard spoke to over 300 students at Brooklawn Middle School in Parisppany and nearly 700 high school and junior high students assembled at the West Essex Junior High School auditorium, in North Cardwell. He exhorted them to "get in the game" and engage fully in their math and science education.

Introduced by his host, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Dr. Ballard explained that he is committed to fostering the next generation of explorers. He founded the JASON Foundation for Education to inspire students to pursue learning in science, math, and technology through exploration and discovery.

"Dr. Ballard's exciting presentation was very well received by the students," said Frelinghuysen. "His hope and my hope is that his appearance here today will inspire more than a few young women and young men to pursue science as their life's work."

Robert Ballard is a veteran of more than 125 expeditions, many in search of lost ships and ancient artifacts. President of the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut, and director of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, Ballard is best known for his 1985 discovery of the wreck of the Titanic.

He also established the "JASON Project," an educational program designed to inspire in students a lifelong passion to pursue learning in science, math and technology through exploration and discovery. Ballard has developed telecommunications technology to create "telepresence" for his JASON Project, which today allows hundreds of thousands of school children to accompany him from afar on undersea explorations around the globe.

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