Congress is out of session this week so I've been back home travelling around the district during the District Work Period. I've had the opportunity to visit with families, organizations and businesses and talk with many of you, which is always wonderful.
As Monday was Memorial Day, I wanted to tell you about some things we're working on for our veterans and our men and women in uniform. Two weeks ago, I introduced an amendment to a spending bill which would have raised the pay of our active-duty personnel. Unfortunately, the majority refused to let my amendment come up for a vote. I spoke out in favor of the amendment on the floor of the House; you can watch the video here. Last week, I introduced HR 2561, the Help Student Soldiers Act. This bill forgives federal student loans a student takes for a semester cannot finish because he or she is called to active duty to serve our country. I hope that Congress will move quickly to pass this bill and help our student-soldiers.
Last week I told you that I am wholeheartedly opposed to terrorists being transferred from Guantanamo Bay to anywhere in the United States, especially Illinois. Since then, there has been some discussion of doing exactly that. In an effort to ensure that detainees are not transferred to Illinois, I recently signed on as a cosponsor to HR 2294, the "Keep Terrorists Out of America Act."
I also want to note that Wednesday the 27th marked one hundred days since the so-called "stimulus" bill was signed into law. Despite claims that the law would stimulate job creation and put Americans back to work, an average of 16,000 Americans have lost their jobs per day since then (see a graph of job losses here). What our economy and taxpayers needed was a shot of adrenaline, not a list of long-term pet projects.
Finally, I'd like to invite you to a hearing I'm hosting on cap-and-trade legislation on Monday, June 1. Local businesses, industry experts, and environmental advocates will discuss how the legislation will impact business and employment. Details can be found here.
As always, it is an honor to serve you. Please do not hesitate to contact my office in Willowbrook at (630) 655-2052 or in Washington, DC at (202) 225-3515 if I can be of assistance to you.
Next Week in Washington:
HRes 437 - Supporting the goals and ideals of Mental Health Month
HR 2200 - Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act of 2009
Judy in the News:
May 27, 2009
By Gerry Smith
Naperville: Proposed fuel depot will use yard waste to fuel fleet
Proposal to tap into renewable energy sources
Naperville fleet vehicles may soon run on residents' yard clippings under an innovative plan to produce renewable energy.
U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert has requested a $4 million earmark from the U.S. Department of Energy to pay for a "green fuels depot" in Naperville that would use biomass to make electricity, hydrogen and ethanol.
"It basically wrings energy out of what otherwise would be wasted biological materials," City Councilman Robert Fieseler said. "I think people will embrace this because it just makes sense."
Naperville already has a waste hauling contractor who picks up residents' yard clippings and takes them to a composting facility, public works director Dave Van Vooren said. The depot would use about 3 percent of those clippings to produce energy, Fieseler said.The depot would be a partnership between the City of Naperville, Packer Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory and the College of DuPage.
The depot would be on an acre of land in Naperville "that would be suitably set apart from residential areas," Fieseler said, adding that the depot would be "benign, for the most part."
Packer Engineering would provide a gasifier the company has developed that converts yard waste into syngas to power plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles or be fermented into ethanol and blended with gasoline.
College of DuPage students would receive course credit for working at the depot, and Argonne would provide plug-in hybrid vehicles to test the depot.
If successful, Packer Engineering hopes to sell its gasifier to municipalities and farmers who could generate heat and electricity on their farms from non-food crop waste like corn cobs and stalks.
At first, the depot would be used mostly to generate electricity to fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles or supplement the city's municipal electric system. The depot would not produce hydrogen for a while since automakers have not begun manufacturing hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, Fieseler said.
Stephanie Hastings, president of Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation, a local nonprofit group, said the green fuels depot offers a different approach to reducing emissions while the Obama administration increases fuel-economy standards in cars.
"It's right to focus on the car itself," Hastings said, "but by targeting [emissions] from the other angle and making the fuel more efficient and greener, you are killing two birds with one stone."
Read All of Judy's Press Releases and Statements Here.
Article of the Week:
Stimulus projects bypass hard-hit states
May 27, 2009
WASHINGTON States hit hardest by the recession received only a few of the government's first stimulus contracts, even though the glut of new federal spending was meant to target places where the economic pain has been particularly severe.
Nationwide, federal agencies have awarded nearly $4 billion in contracts to help jump-start the economy since President Obama signed the massive stimulus package in February. But, with few exceptions, that money has not reached states where the unemployment rate is highest, according to a USA TODAY review of contracts disclosed through the Federal Procurement Data System.
In Michigan, for example where years of economic tumult and a collapsing domestic auto industry have produced the nation's worst unemployment rate federal agencies have spent about $2 million on stimulus contracts, or 21 cents per person. In Oregon, where unemployment is almost as high, they have spent $2.12 per capita, far less than the nationwide average of nearly $13.