Washington Review, January 10, 2014
I would like to begin this edition of my Washington Review by wishing everyone in New Jersey’s 8th District a Happy New Year. I hope that 2014 will bring about a spirit of cooperation in Congress which will lead to growth in our economy and job creation.
Since the beginning of the year, according to the Minority on the House Ways and Means Committee, 1.4 million Americans have been thrown off their unemployment insurance (UI) because legislation was not passed to extend UI for the long-term unemployed in 2014. This past week, I expressed my concerns regarding the expiration of the federal unemployment insurance program. At a time when so many Americans are still struggling to recover from one of the greatest periods of economic downturn in our nation’s history, I believe it is imperative that Congress stand behind those who need our support the most. I urge my colleagues in the House to take action so we might provide for those who have lost their jobs at no fault of their own. I understand the need to bring our budget under control, but it should not be done on the backs of hardworking Americans.
As opposed to focusing on the extension of unemployment insurance and job creation, I believe the House majority brought to the floor H.R. 2279, the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act of 2013, to undermine current regulations that oversee the cleanup of contaminated sites. This legislation would allow polluters to escape responsibility for the contamination they have caused, and could leave taxpayers at risk for billions of dollars in cleanup costs. I opposed this bill because it would delay the cleanup of contaminated sites, many of which exist in New Jersey, posing urgent health and safety risks. H.R. 2279 unfortunately passed by a vote of 255-188 and is now under review in the Senate.