The Week Just Past
"In the midst of one of the most serious economic crises in recent history, the House this week impeached a corrupt federal judge in Louisiana, spent most of Wednesday discussing a resolution to force withdrawal of US soldiers and Marines from Afghanistan and debated legislation dealing with "algae blooms,' not once, but twice.
"Of course, if I set the agenda we would be debating JOBS -- how to create and protect private sector jobs and how to put people back to work -- and NOT putting more people on the government payrolls!
"According to USA Today, the federal government is one of the only entities doing well. Washington added 120,000 jobs federal jobs while the private sector continues shedding jobs!
"People are hurting. They are worrying about their next paycheck, their pensions and how they will rebuild their lost savings and investments.
"And, with New Jersey's unemployment rate at 10.1 percent, they are worrying about their job security. That's the problem we need to be tackling.
"Of course, Congress cannot provide the entire answer here, but we can stop being part of the problem. We can stop threatening businesses with new taxes, new regulations and we can stop nationalizing all parts of our economy.
"And we certainly should stop spending money like there is no tomorrow! We are already seeing REAL CONSEQUENCES for what Congress has already done!
"Finally, we should scrap the President's trillion dollar, 27-hundred page takeover of health care and support single, individual bills that
promote portability of coverage, allow individuals to buy health care across state lines, cover people with pre-existing conditions, improve access to Health Savings Accounts, and enact "junk lawsuit' reform.
"Americans want to slow down, and take a step-by-step approach to health care reform that begins with reducing costs for our families and our businesses and improves insurance coverage for everyone.
"I believe in health reform -- but not Speaker Pelosi's version of health reform which will kill thousands upon thousands of private sector jobs at precisely the time when we should be promoting economic growth."
Recommended Reading: Wednesday editorial in the Wall Street Journal, "Procuring the Union Agenda." "In a novel variation on "pay to play,' the Obama Administration is planning to force companies to raise pay and benefits for workers if they want continued access to federal contracts ":
Passing the Obama Health Care Bill Without A Vote?
Hard information on how Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to bend the rules to ram President Obama's massive health care legislation through Congress is becoming clear. Some insights can be gleaned from a published report on Wednesday.
National Journal reported this week that Speaker Pelosi's hand-picked Chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), has devised a plan to get the health care legislation through the House without an actual vote on the Senate-passed health care bill.
Speaker Pelosi currently lacks the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House. Under Slaughter's scheme, the Majority leadership will overcome this problem by simply "deeming" the Senate bill passed in the House - without an actual vote by members of the House.
An excerpt from the National Journal story:
"House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.
"Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version."
So, the Speaker may attempt to pass President Obama's government takeover of health care without an actual vote?
This further underscores the point that the bill is bad legislation, but the process being used to enact it, complete with back room deals and absolutely no transparency, may actually be worse.
Quote of the Week: Congressional Transparency?
"We have to pass the health care bill so that you can find out what is in it
Speaker Nancy Pelosi to
National Association of Counties
March 9, 2010
Recommended Reading II: Tuesday editorial by the Wall Street Journal, "That Other Government Takeover":
Recommended Reading III: Robert Pear writing the in Sunday New York Times: "State Insurance Experts See Flaw in Obama's Plan to Curb Health Premiums":
The Wrong Track: Spending, Deficits, Debt
The federal government recorded another dangerous record last month: it rang up the largest monthly deficit in history in the United States in February, keeping the flood of red ink on track to top last year's record for the full year.
The Treasury Department said this week that the February deficit totaled $220.9 billion, 14 percent higher than the previous record set in February of last year.
The deficit through the first five months of this budget year totals $651.6 billion, 10.5 percent higher than a year ago.
The Obama administration is projecting that the deficit for the 2010 budget year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, surpassing last year's $1.4 trillion total. The administration is forecasting that the deficit will remain above $1 trillion in 2011, giving the country three straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits.
"There is no more evidence needed that this Administration and the Congressional Leadership are spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much," Rodney said. "These record deficit numbers imperil our nation's future and will present our children and grandchildren with an immoral bill to pay."
Recommended Reading III: Senator Lamar Alexander (former Secretary of Education) writing in the Washington Post on the Obama Administration's plan to "nationalize" the federal student loan program:
Standing Up For Troops in Afghanistan
On Wednesday, the House debated House Concurrent Resolution 248 which demanded the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. Read excerpts of Rodney's Floor statement:
"My Colleagues, this is clearly the wrong resolution, offered at the precisely the wrong time. Can you imagine the reaction of our soldiers and Marines serving there today when they hear what this House is debating!
"Instead of debating a "withdrawal" from Afghanistan, we should adopt a resolution praising the all-volunteer men and women of our armed forces - and their families -- for their courageous and dedicated service and their continuing sacrifice in the name of protecting Americans everywhere.
"Let's not forget why we are in Afghanistan today.
"We are there because we abandoned the region after the retreat of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. We ignored Afghanistan and allowed the Taliban to provide safe havens for Al-Qaeda - violent international extremists dedicated to waging war against our nation.
"I remain also deeply concerned about the Administration's timeline for withdrawal which appears not to be connected to actual conditions on the ground.
"I urge defeat of the resolution."
House Concurrent Resolution 248 was defeated by a vote of 365-65.
Rodney At Work
Rodney's two Appropriations Subcommittees held key hearings this week.
The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, on which Rodney serves as Ranking Republican Member, examined "nuclear non-proliferation" issues on Wednesday. The hearing explored efforts by the U.S. government to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide, accelerate the reduction of Russian and U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles and work on updated agreements with Russia to dispose of its surplus weapons-grade plutonium.
Rodney's Defense Subcommittee held budget hearings on Wednesday and Thursday and took testimony from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz.
Census: Be Counted!
Many New Jersey households received their 2010 Census form this week and it is critically important that you fill it out and send it back in.
According to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, the 2010 Census will determine how more than $500 billion in federal funds is distributed annually across the country. Specifically, 215 federal programs rely on Census data to determine how much money they send to states, counties and municipalities.
We live in a state which time and time again gets shortchanged on the return of our tax dollars from Washington. So it is vital that everyone in New Jersey be counted!
So find that Census form. Fill it out and send it back!
Rodney has held meetings with local public officials designed to enlist the support of local leaders to assure the widest possible participation and then most accurate count of everyone in our communities.
Town Hall Meeting
Rodney will continue his ongoing series of public Town Hall Meetings:
Saturday, March 20
Ridge High School
268 South Finley Avenue
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-1402
The most popular museum in the country, the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History, also the second-most visited museum on earth, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Founded, in part, to house the vast number of specimens that Theodore Roosevelt brought back from a 1909 safari in Africa, the fascinating Museum of Natural History hosted 7.4 million visitors in 2009.
However, the Museum is just one of the attractions that border the National Mall or are spread around Washington, D.C.
If you are planning, or even contemplating, a trip to Washington, contact Rodney's office @ http://frelinghuysen.house.gov/ or call his office @ 202-225-5034.