Author Archive: Congressman Frank Pallone

Make it in America

promoted by Rosi

I believe that creating jobs and helping the economy grow should be America’s top priority. Unfortunately, the Republicans in Congress don’t seem to agree. It’s been 205 days since Republicans took control of the House and in that time Speaker Boehner has not posted any legislation to help put America back to work. In fact, the Republicans have devoted themselves to budget cuts that hurt working families and to protecting tax cuts for the wealthy, tax breaks for Big Oil and tax loopholes for companies that send jobs overseas.

I am working with my Democratic colleagues to advance an economic plan we call “Make It In America.” This is a multi-part plan that help rebuild the manufacturing base in America with good jobs and companies that will contribute to long-term economic growth.

To highlight the Make It In America agenda I visited Seimens in Piscataway yesterday to showcase a manufacturing success story. Siemens has brought jobs back from China to a facility that combines manufacturing, Research and Development and marketing. Watch the video below to find out more about my trip to Seimens and the Make It In America agenda.

Why I voted against the debt bill

Thanks, Congressman. – promoted by Rosi

Washington has been consumed with a protracted and distracting debate that tied the need to raise the Nation’s debt limit to budget cuts. All reasonable people know that default was not an option. The failure of the country to pay its bills would have a catastrophic effect on the economy and on the lives of all Americans for years to come. This was a debate we shouldn’t have been having. Every day and every hour that was spent in this battle was time that wasn’t devoted to job creation or economic growth.

I voted against the deal that was made to end the crisis that paralyzed Congress and threatened the economy. A default had to be avoided, but this was not the best way to do it. First and foremost, the plan does nothing to create a single job and does nothing to aid the ailing economy. In fact, it could cause both immediate and long-term harm to the country’s economic well being and to our ability to pursue economic opportunities.

Historic Health Care Reform

promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

It’s been a little over 24 hours since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect.  Now, we have real reform that lowers costs, holds insurance companies accountable and guarantees more choice for consumers. Together, we fought against and beat back powerful special interests and partisan extremists to deliver real results and meaningful reform for Central Jersey’s middle-class families.  Not only were we able to ensure that this reform would be deficit neutral, it will even lower the debt by slowing the growth rate of health care costs.  And this was all done in an effort to bring about better, more-accessible, high-quality health care for all.

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100 Days

Promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

It’s been a busy 100 days for us in Congress.  From reining in Wall Street excesses with comprehensive financial regulation reform to protecting and creating American jobs, we are working hard to fulfill the mandate given to President Obama and Congressional Democrats back in November of 2008. But the next 100 days promise to be even busier.

In Congress, we have been fighting back against the constant obstructions of the Republican minority.  Instead of coming to the table with new ideas to get the American people to work, the GOP is still more interested in scoring cheap political points.  Whether it’s arguing for repeal of health care reform that will help protect America’s families, apologizing to BP for Democrats’ efforts to hold them accountable for their actions in the Gulf, or denying a crucial extension of unemployment benefits for nearly three million American workers, it’s clear that Republicans are more interested in fighting for corporate interests than the interests of the American people.  

Despite this obstructionism, we have made some important progress.  The most obvious example is the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The White House blog conveniently lays out ten parts of the financial regulation package you may not be aware of, such as prohibiting mortgage brokers from selling unaffordable mortgages simply to make higher commissions, providing consumers with free credit reports, and putting an end to the “too big to fail” mentality by preventing financial institutions from growing to such a point that their collapse would trigger much wider economic collapse.  

The financial regulation reform package will prevent the excesses of Wall Street and big banks that led to the financial meltdown in 2008 and protect consumers from confusing and deceitful financial service products.  We established an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with a mission of protecting common people from excessive interest rate hikes, misleading financial products, and the leveraged risk of packaged securities that resulted in the loss of people’s savings.  

The Fight Begins Today

Promoted from the diaries by Rosi Efthim

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

With yesterday’s primary election in the books, the journey to November’s general election starts right now.  

While we still don’t know who our opponent will be, we do know she will either be a self-funding billionaire or the darling of the tea party. We also know that, no matter what, we will be facing a well-funded right-wing assault seeking to turn back the clock to the Bush/Cheney policies that have caused so many problems for our state and nation.

I treat every election the same, no matter who is on the ballot: run hard and let the voters know of the work we’ve done to make their lives better.  I’ve been fighting hard every day to deliver real results for the 6th District. I’ve fought to create and protect jobs, while opposing trade agreements that destroy jobs and give tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.  I’ve safeguarded our beaches and am holding corporate polluters accountable by forcing them to foot the bill for cleaning up their toxic waste sites. And I’ve worked hard on health care reform that will help everyone across the nation.  

But there is still much work to be done, and I simply can not continue my work without your support.  So I hope you will  join me at my hometown headquarters, as we kick-off my re-election campaign.  It’s not going to be anything fancy – just some food and refreshments – but it will give us all a chance to get to work, making sure the 6th Congressional District stays blue.

                                  Sunday, June 13th

                                   2:30pm – 4:30pm

                   Pallone for Congress Campaign Headquarters

                               495 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ

                                 Please RSVP on Facebook

                       or to matt@pallonefornewjersey.com

Making Wall Street Take Their Medicine

Earlier this week, I joined with small business owners and consumer advocates in Red Bank’s vibrant downtown to rally support for passage of a comprehensive reform package that will put the interests of Main Street before those of Wall Street.

Last fall, I fought for the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a reform package that will protect consumers from the financial fallout of the selfish actions of  bankers and prevent taxpayers from ever having to foot the bill for another bailout when risky investments go south. It will force the banks to pay back all bailout money they received and then go further, to tighten the reigns on Wall Street’s worst practices.

In my book, “too big to fail” means too big – period. No one bank – or small group of financial firms – should have the power to collapse our nation’s economy in the blind pursuit of profit. At the end of the day, all the reforms in the world cannot stop all irresponsible behavior and unreasonable risk-taking. But we can ensure that the impact of such bad decision-making is limited by ending the “too big to fail” financial firms. This will both protect the financial well-being of our families, students and retirees as well as businesses small and large. Perhaps more importantly, it will end the need for big bank bailouts that punish taxpayers for Wall Street’s risky decisions.

Moving forward, the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) will protect consumers from some of Wall Street’s worst abuses. For too long, banks have been allowed to engage in marketing gimmickry and predatory lending practices, aimed right at those who can afford it the least – families and small businesses. The CFPA will enforce transparency and fairness in lending, ensuring that credit cards, mortgages and personal loans are understandable, affordable and free of devious fine print.

A Complete 180

In the GOP primary in NJ-6, Anna Little gets the Conservative Party and some tea party love (but uh, not Rush Limbaugh’s). And Diane Gooch gets the Chris Christie shout-out, which means more. Gooch, the Two River Times publisher with a Wall Street marriage, can self-finance – and has. We’ve had the benefit of Frank Pallone’s clear voice in the House for 22 years, but this year we have to be alert to how angry the right wing is at those who did the most to bring health care reform. That’s my 2 cents. – – promoted by Rosi.

There are only 180 days between now and Election Day.  And we’re going to have to fight tooth and nail to beat back those seeking to bring about a 180 degree reversal from the progress we’ve been making.

Since President Obama’s historic election, we’ve brought about the change our nation is clamoring for – from making sure women receive equal pay to providing assistance to homeowners and small businesses. Moreover, the history books will surely look back on extending health care coverage to 35 million more Americans as a massive achievement.

Nonetheless, our opponents want to turn back the clock to the days when Bush-Cheney policies put the well-connected at the top of the agenda and Rove politics ruled the day.  Our opponents are seeking to reverse all the progress we’re making. And they have deep pockets to fund those candidates and causes who share their regressive goals.

I need your help to fight back.

Every Day…Not Just Earth Day

Earth Day special. Promoted by Rosi

Earth Day is a time for us all to come together and celebrate the great beauty of our planet. This is also a day to remember how fragile our environment is and to think about how we can fight back against growing threats and pollution.

I’ve spent my career fighting to protect New Jersey’s environment – our water, our beaches and our air.  This is not just an issue of importance that I talk about on Earth Day, but rather something near and dear to my heart all year long. That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update on some of the actions we are taking to protect our natural resources and treasures.

We all know how important clean beaches are to our shore economy. That’s why I was proud to help pass the Beach Protection Act.  This landmark legislation requires tough new water quality testing and public notification standards so beachgoers can be confident the waters they’re swimming or surfing in are clean.

Nonetheless, we still find far too much pollution on our shores.  Recently, Clean Ocean Action released their Beach Sweeps Report – which presented findings of over 301,500 items washing up over 132 sites statewide.  Over the span of just a few months, they removed almost 4,200 bags of trash and nearly 60,000 pounds of debris from coastal habitats. The most common items found were plastic lids, caps, straws and shopping bags, as well as bottles, metal caps, food wrappers and cigarette filters. Sadly, far too many people seem to be forgetting the days – not too long ago – when our shores were closed due to dangerous and unhealthy debris.

Right now, our beaches and ocean waters are facing a new, potentially greater threat. President Obama recently announced plans to open up certain parts of the East Coast for exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas.  This misguided policy is not simply troubling – it is unacceptable.  So, I’m organizing colleagues, stakeholders, constituents and grassroots activists to write the President and tell him not to put our beaches in jeopardy. I hope you will join us in calling the White House or writing members of Congress.  

A New Medium for Interaction & Input

Promoted by Jason Springer

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

Going back to my time as a Long Branch City Councilman, I’ve always believed it was important to give my constituents a direct line to communicate their questions, concerns, and thoughts.  Technology is revolutionizing how we interact, and as the Congressman for New Jersey’s 6th District, I want to use these new tools to hear directly from you.

The internet opens up new opportunities to solicit input, debate policy proposals, and raise new ideas.  My Twitter Town Hall on Health Care was born out of that sentiment.  Now I want to take things one step further by introducing a new way for me to interact with my constituents, Blue Jersey readers, and progressive activists.  Using the Google Moderator application and YouTube, I want to hear directly from you, and at the end of each month I’ll make a web video directly answering your questions.

Google Moderator allows me to get input directly from you so that everyone’s voice can be heard.  If you happen to like a particular question or suggestion, you can vote for it so it rises to the top and ensure that I address the issue. YouTube offers a different medium than Facebook or Twitter.  It allows me to speak directly to you and inform you on the issues facing the 6th Congressional District, New Jersey, and our nation.  

The issues will change from month-to-month.  I might be seeking input on questions you want asked to a witness testifying in front of my Health Subcommittee.  You could want updates on the financial regulation reform and what it will mean to consumers, or what I know about the progress being made in Afghanistan.  Some months I’ll ask specifically about your thoughts or questions on a certain topic; other months it will be open-ended.  

The end game to this new idea for interaction is to create a more open, transparent dialogue.  As a Congressman I serve the people, and want to hear your input.  My fight against the special interests and lobbyists is an everyday battle and I want to make sure my most ardent supporters – progressives – have a vehicle to give me their opinions and thoughts.  I hope I can count on your participation, and as always, you can follow my tweets @FrankPallone and my updates on Facebook.

No Time for Complacency

Promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

It sometimes feels like a political eternity has gone by since President Obama was sworn-in with a Democratic Congress last January.  After sweeping into office with the most electoral votes since L.B.J in 1964, our country was poised to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. A little over a year later, we have made a lot of progress and realized important achievements on issues long neglected by the Republicans.

In fact, the 111th Congress is on pace to pass more legislation than any Congress since the Great Society.  We provided the biggest middle-class tax cut in history. We saved and created millions of jobs with the American Investment and Recovery Act. We signed the Worker, Homeownership & Business Assistance Act into law, and we ensured fair pay for women in the workplace with the Lilly Ledbetter Act. We passed a green jobs bill that will cut carbon emissions. We also protected consumers with the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights. And just last week we voted to repeal the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies.

But there is much more to do. This Congress and this President are on path to do more.  True to their pattern of siding with special interests, the Republican obstructionists are fighting hard to turn back the clock to the policies that caused so much harm to begin with. We need to fight back.

The losses over the last year – Senator Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, as well as the gubernatorial races in Virginia and right here in New Jersey-show that there are political obstacles.  We can clearly see that those who stand opposed to reforming health care, protecting the environment and creating good jobs for American workers are well-funded and highly motivated. We can learn from those political setbacks and use them to motivate more people to join us in the fight for more progress.

Two years ago, special interest groups poured $1 billion into American elections – mostly trying to discredit Barack Obama and Democratic candidates.  This year  their influence could even be more pernicious. I’m sure you’re aware the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling removing all limits on corporate money.  This will open the floodgates and give corporations unchecked influence over our political process. Big business – even those owned by foreign entities – can now crack open their treasure chests to buy as much television time and as many direct mail pieces as they want to help out their handpicked candidates.  Washington Republicans and right-wing challengers will most assuredly reap the benefits – since they’ve been staunch advocate for tax giveaways to the wealthy and the companies they represent.  America is already struggling with the worst recession since the Great Depression, caused in large part by the reckless behavior of big business. The last thing our nation needs is for these same companies to be able to buy elections and undermine our political process.