House of Representatives sputtering onward

The new 114th congressional session kicked off in early January with a few sputters. Its Republican membership has increased but so far not its openness to moderate issues. Nonetheless, two New Jersey Democrats (Reps. Norcross and Sires) have voted in support of Republican bills. Republicans who believe in “limited, constitutional government” have formed The House Freedom Caucus, whose membership includes New Jersey’s most rabid conservative Scott Garrett. Rep. Garrett earlier voted against John Boehner as Speaker, which did not endear him to leadership. So far the house seems to be operating under the principle of “same old same old.”  

House action:

  • Keystone XL Pipeline Act passed 266-153. Democrats Norcross and Sires voted Yes as did all NJ Republicans. All other NJ D’s voted No.

  • Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens (weakens Dodd Franks legislation) passed 271-154. Democrat Sires and All NJ R’s voted Yes, and all other NJ D’s voted No.

  • Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act passed 253-169. Norcross (D) and all NJ R’s voted Yes. Other NJ D’s voted No.

  • Prohibit taxpayer abortions passed 242-179. All NJ R’s voted Yes; all D’s voted No.

  • Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (Limits the President’s authority to  to spare classes of deserving immigrants per his Executive Order.) passed 236-191. All NJ R’s voted Yes. All NJ D’s voted No.

    For committee assignments and power ratings, go below the fold.  

    Below, as of now according to the House Clerk, are NJ committee assignments listed by congressional district. Members are appointed by leadership and rise in rank largely through tenure. There is an asterisk next to those members who rank # 6 or higher on a committee. All committees are now chaired by a Republican but Frank Pallone is the ranking Democrat on one committee.

    Contact the appropriate representative, based on his/her committee assignment, on issues that concern you, whether the individual is  Republican or Democrat. Legislation is controlled by the Republicans so we ignore them at our peril. As you will note below many of the congressmen who are the most powerful and can get things done for New Jersey are Republicans.  

    01   Donald Norcross (D): Armed Services (influence over McGuire-Dix Lakehurst joint base). Budget. [House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee.]

    02   Frank LoBiondo (R): Armed Services* (influence over McGuire-Dix Lakehurst joint base). Intelligence (Permanent)*. Transportation* (The federal transportation bill which matches NJ funds has to be renewed soon.)

    03   Tom MacArthur (R): Armed Services (influence over McGuire-Dix Lakehurst joint base). Natural Resources (Water, Power, & Oceans Subcommittee which handles Sandy matters.)

    04   Chris Smith (R): Foreign Affairs*.

    05   Scott Garrett (R): Financial Services* Beneficial help from him is unrealistic.)

    06   Frank Pallone (D): Energy and Commerce* (Ranking Dem. member). [House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee.]

    07   Leonard Lance (R): Energy and Commerce.

    08   Albio Sires (D): Foreign Affairs*.

    09   Bill Pascrell (D): The Budget*. Ways and Means. (Two powerful committees that provide funds to NJ.

    10   Donald Payne (D): Homeland Security.

    11   Rodney Frelinghuysen (R): Appropriations* (an important committee that funds NJ.)

    12   Bonnie Watson Coleman (D): Homeland Security.  

    In terms of helpful legislation which can pass the Senate and not face a veto, expect more sputters and few ignitions this year.  

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