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E-News April 23, 2010


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Rodney's Report to the Morris County Chamber of Commerce
Confirmed: New Health Care Law Will Boost Costs
The Week Just Past
Iran Watch: Growing Threat to America
Checking on our Nuclear Arsenal
Helping Those Who Help Veterans
New Garrison Commander for Picatinny Arsenal
Congressional Art Competition Deadline Approaching
11th Congressional District Academy Night

Rodney's Report to the Morris County Chamber of Commerce

Declaring "jobs and the economy should be Congress' unquestioned #1 priority," Rodney delivered a keynote address to over 100 members of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

Providing a report from Washington, he warned the Chamber about the nation's growing debt crisis, outlined the $600 billion in tax increases the President and the Congressional Majority have already levied on Americans at all income levels in the new health care law and outlined a plan to spur economic growth and private sector job creation.

He also addressed efforts by the Obama Administration and the Congressional Majority to pass a "financial regulatory reform" bill.

Rodney opposed the House-passed financial regulation bill that includes 1) permanent bailout authority for the federal government, 2) a tax increase on financially healthy companies, 3) establishment of a brand new super-regulatory agency headed by yet another czar, and absolutely no reform of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It is vitally important that we get this reform done and that we get it right," he said. "If Congress overreaches and over-regulates, we run the risk of forcing more of our businesses overseas, choking American innovation, killing job creation, stifling any economic recovery and giving other nations and international financial institutions greater advantages over our institutions."

In an effort to provide consumers with greater protections, Rodney has cosponsored H.R. 3310, the Consumer Protection and Regulatory Enhancement Act. The bill would:

* Establish a new chapter of the bankruptcy code that would provide for the resolution of insolvent financial institutions instead of creating the taxpayer-funded bail-out "slush fund";
* Create a consumer protection council comprised of existing federal regulators to develop model regulations to enhance consumer protection and improve disclosure;
* Create a Market Stability and Capital Adequacy Board to monitor market interactions and assess regulatory gaps;
* Strengthen anti-fraud laws and increase enforcement and penalties;
* Regulate over-the-counter derivatives markets by requiring "major market participants" to abide by margin requirements and report their transactions;
* Removes the statutory reliance on credit rating agencies, which allowed for the manipulation of the credit ratings of complex securities;
* Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to put them on a path to be removed from the government control;
* Create a Federal Insurance Office to monitor the insurance industry and "alternative" products.

Confirmed: New Health Care Law Will Boost Costs

An analysis released last night by the Obama Administration's own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that President Obama's new health care law falls well short of his pledge to reduce health care costs.

According to this report the new health care law -- which was signed by the President one month ago today -- actually increases national health care costs over the next 10 years by $311 billion. CMS also determined that the new law will force more than seven million seniors off their current Medicare coverage.

"We already know that this new law is squeezing employers with job-killing tax hikes and forcing families to brace for higher premiums," Rodney said. "And now the Administration has confirmed that the new health care law will boost costs and force millions of seniors out of their current Medicare coverage.

"This development clearly illustrates why Speaker Pelosi should not have rammed this bill through Congress in March," he said. "She refused to wait for this critical analysis to be completed and now we know why."

Recommended Reading: "Health care overhaul spawns mass confusion for public," by McClatchy New Service.

The Week Just Past

"I am a cosponsor of several measures designed to impose crippling sanctions on the rogue regime in Iran as it presses forward with its nuclear weapons program. Yesterday, the House and the Senate finally formally agreed to meet to begin reconciling the differences in separate sanctions bills passed last year. We hope a final bill can get to President Obama's desk in the next few weeks and we hope he signs it and that it is actually enforceable!

"The Congressional action came a few days after the New York Times reported that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sent a classified memorandum to the White House warning that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability.

"And while the diplomats debate additional, tougher sanctions against Iran, a senior Defense Department official declared this week that military action is "off the table in the near term.' Undersecretary of Defense Michelle Flournoy said, "Right now the focus is a combination of engagement and pressure in the form of sanctions. We have not seen Iran engage productively in response.'

"While everyone wants a peaceful resolution to this developing crisis, we should never take any options "off the table.' The authoritarian Iranian regime will only relent and agree to end their illegal nuclear program when they feel their grip on power slipping away. My view is that they are working overtime on their weapons program at known and secret locations.

"A nuclear-armed Iran would pose an absolutely unacceptable threat to America (see below), our interests and our allies. Any talk of allowing Iran to attain this capability, and then "containing' them, is foolhardy. Unfortunately, many experts around the globe are beginning to think the Obama Administration has already conceded that Iran will acquire a nuclear arms capability."


Iran Watch: Growing Threat to America

Iran may be able to build a missile capable of striking the United States by 2015, according to an unclassified Defense Department report on Iran's military released on Monday.

"With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015," said the report.

(You can learn more about the Pentagon's assessment of Iran's military capabilities by reading the assessment of Lt. Gen Ronald Burgess, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to the Senate Armed Services Committee here.)

The timing of advances in Iran's long-range missile technology bears close monitoring. "Iran's nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy," the report said…The report also included an assessment of Iran's broader military capabilities and support for insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as groups like Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

With Iranian support, Hezbollah has replenished its arsenal beyond levels it had in the 2006 war with Israel. "Iran, through its long-standing relationship with Hezbollah, maintains a capability to strike Israel directly and threatens Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide."

It is important to remember that the United States currently has over 200,000 military personnel within striking distance of existing Iranian missiles.

Recommended Reading II: The story by Bill Gertz in the Wednesday Washington Times, "Iran boosts Qods shock troops in Venezuela, Pentagon predicts U.S. clash with Islamist paramilitary."

Checking on our nuclear arsenal

Fulfilling his oversight responsibilities as Ranking Republican Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Rodney recently traveled to the Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkley Laboratories in California. Part of the mission of this "national laboratory" is to ensure that America's stockpile of nuclear warheads is safe and reliable.

Learn more about what Rodney saw in this report from CNN.

Helping Those Who Help Veterans

With Rodney's strong support, the House passed compromise legislation Wednesday that would provide assistance to caregivers of veterans and expand veterans' health care programs. The bill (S. 1963) authorizes funding for veterans' programs and construction projects for veterans' medical facilities.

"Over the last decade, Congress has provided a tremendous amount of additional resources to the Veterans Administration to provide better care for those men and women who have worn the uniform of our armed forces," said Rodney, a veteran of the Vietnam War. "However, at the same time, the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking VA care has jumped significantly. We will continue to work to identify and correct existing gaps in care."

S. 1963 is intended to strengthen the health care support system for veterans and to provide additional aid to female veterans and veterans with mental health issues. The legislation also will provide support for those family members and friends who provide care for veterans by creating two caregiver support programs: one for caregivers of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and another for caregivers of other veterans. Both groups would be eligible for training and education assistance, counseling and mental health services, and respite care, including 24-hour, in-home respite care.

Recommended Reading III: George Will on Governor Chris Christie in Thursday's Washington Post, "Bringing Thunder-ous Change to New Jersey."

New Garrison Commander for Picatinny Arsenal

Rodney attended a "change of command" ceremony at Picatinny Arsenal. Lt.Col. Charles Koehler took over as Garrison Commander as Lt.Col. John Stack ended three successful years in that post.

"Picatinny and the larger northern New Jersey community owe John Stack a great debt," Rodney said. "His energetic leadership has improved the face of Picatinny and deepened the bonds between the Army and our host communities. While he will be sorely missed inside and outside the Arsenal's "Cannon Gates,' we know he will be applying his talents and experience to advance the mission of our great Army."

Later this year, Stack, a special operations soldier, will deploy to the Middle East.

Congressional Art Competition Deadline Approaching

The 11th Congressional District will again participate in "An Artistic Discovery," the Congressional art competition. The deadline for students to submit artwork is May 3.

"The annual Congressional Art Competition is an excellent opportunity to recognize the rich talents of our young people," Rodney said. "I commend our local high schools for encouraging their students to showcase their artistic skills in this year's competition."

The annual Congressional art contest has been promoting America's young artists for 28 years. Students should attend a high school in the 11th District, but there is no requirement that students be enrolled in art classes.

For additional information, interested applicants should contact their high school art department or Rodney's Morristown office at (973) 984-0711.

11th Congressional District Academy Night

On Monday, May 3, Rodney will host his tenth annual Academy Night, which gives interested local students, parents, and guidance counselors the opportunity to meet with representatives from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Academy Night will begin at 7 p.m. at Montville High School's auditorium on May 3.

The meeting is open to all prospective students, their parents and school guidance counselors.

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