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eNews - March 7, 2008

What's Inside

1. America "more vulnerable!"
2. Improving Mental Health Insurance Coverage
3. Frelinghuysen calls space program "essential"…
4. …and supports New Jersey manufacturing
5. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Letter Carriers discuss issues
6. Around New Jersey - Town Hall Meetings
7. Spread the eNews!

America "more vulnerable!"

It has now been 19 days since the Protect America Act expired. This crucial legislation extended the important provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). As a result, the House Leadership has left America at significant risk and potentially blind to new terrorist plots and our intelligence agencies have lost critical tools that protect our national security and keep our families and communities safe.

Once again this week, the Leadership used parliamentary barriers to prevent consideration in the House of the bipartisan FISA bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate three weeks ago.

"We are less safe today and will remain so until Congress clears up the legal uncertainty for American telecommunications companies that assist in collecting intelligence, said Rep. Frelinghuysen. "This delay is not only irresponsible, it is downright dangerous."

This week a bipartisan group of 25 State Attorneys General wrote a letter to House leaders yesterday urging passage of the bipartisan Senate bill: "Passing S. 2248 would ensure our intelligence experts are once again able to conduct real-time surveillance. … As Attorneys General, we are our states' chief law enforcement officials and therefore responsible for taking whatever action is necessary to keep our citizens safe. With S. 2248 still pending in the House of Representatives, our national security is in jeopardy. We therefore urge the House of Representatives to schedule a vote and pass the FISA Amendments Act of 2007."

"The House should immediately take up the Senate-passed FISA bill," said Frelinghuysen. "This bill passed the Senate by 68 votes, and it would pass the House with an overwhelming bipartisan vote if House Democrat leaders simply gave it the up-or-down vote it deserves. "

Improving Mental Health Insurance Coverage

The House this week passed legislation designed to improve health insurance coverage for people suffering with mental illness. H.R. 1424, Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, requires health insurance companies that cover mental illness to do so at a parity with physical illness, requiring the same co-payments, deductibles, limits on doctor visits, limits on hospitalization, and annual and lifetime limits on coverage.

"Mental illness is an illness in the truest sense of the word and it should be treated on an equal basis as other physical diseases." said Rep. Frelinghuysen, who has a long record of advocacy on mental health issues. "This legislation is long overdue."

The Senate has passed its own version of the "mental health parity" legislation. Members of the House and Senate will now have to meet to hammer out differences before a bill can be finalized and sent to the President.

Frelinghuysen calls "space program" essential…

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen delivered the "keynote" address this week to the United Space Alliance, a consortium of businesses supporting NASA's activities in space.

"Congress recognizes that a strengthened investment in science and technology is driving our nation's economic strength, job creation and productivity. You can be sure that I remain committed to this important endeavor and to NASA's critical role in it.

He also noted that NASA's programs provide a hands-on vehicle to emphasize to our young people, boys and girls, the importance of science and mathematics in real life applications.

"Next week, people all over the world will watch in awe as the crew of STS -123 will lift off at Kennedy Space Center aboard the shuttle Endeavor. On board will be Dr. Garrett Reisman from Parsippany, son of a very distinguished Picatinny scientist."

Frelinghuysen was introduced at the event by Thomas Marotta, President of Marotta Scientific Controls. The Montville-based firm has made significant contributions to several NASA programs, including the Space Shuttle.

…and supports manufacturing.

Frelinghuysen also spoke to a nationwide gathering of representatives of the Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP). MEP is a not-for-profit organization charged with assisting small- and medium-sized businesses to become more productive, profitable, and globally competitive. Its clients are generally home grown, family owned businesses that make things by adding value, and use degrees of high tech materials, people, processes or technology in running their operations.

"Manufacturing is critically important to New Jersey. It's a real engine that drives our economy," said Frelinghuysen. "As our businesses face aggressive competition from low-wage countries like China, Malaysia and India, it's in our own best national interest to provide support for our diversified manufacturing sector."

There are over 1,400 manufacturers in New Jersey's 11th Congressional District with fewer than 500 employees. These firms employ nearly 49,000 men and women.

"Providing federal support for MEP makes good sense," said Frelinghuysen. "For every dollar the federal government invests, NJMEP returns $144 in positive economic impact. By any calculation, this is a "win-win" program for our state and for our nation."

Frelinghuysen was welcomed by NJMEP President Robert Loderstedt.

Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Letter Carriers discuss issues

The New Jersey Association of Letter Carriers (NJALC) visited Washington, D.C. this week. Addressing their annual policy breakfast, Rep. Frelinghuysen "thanked them for being the ‘eyes and ears' in their communities against potential criminal and terrorist related activities." He was welcomed to the breakfast by NJALC President Tony Massa of Florham Park. Earlier in the week, local NALC members met with Frelinghuysen in his Capitol Hill office to discuss issues relating to the future of US Postal Service and their employees.

Around New Jersey - Town Hall Meetings

Rep. Frelinghuysen conducted two Town Hall Meetings last weekend.

He was introduced in Chatham Township by Mayor Kevin Tubbs. In Parsippany, he was introduced by Mayor Michael Luther.

At both sessions, Frelinghuysen and residents discussed the economy, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), immigration and the need for greater bipartisan cooperation in Washington.

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