Friday, June 26, 2009

Frank LoBiondo votes for Energy Bill

The first major bill to fight man-made climate change was passed today by the House of Representatives by the narrow margin of 219-211. Frank LoBiondo was of eight Republicans who crossed over to support the bill and provide the margin of victory. While the bill has been badly watered down, this is a necessary first step. I can't praise LoBiondo enough for standing up to the right-wing anti-scientific voices that sadly dominate his party.

LoBiondo himself called it a vote for "energy independence" and warned about the mistakes following the energy crisis of the 1970s:

“For South Jersey residents who lived through the energy crisis of the 1970s, the nation witnessed the rationing of gas, stations sold-out of fuel, and our country’s absolute reliance on foreign nations to save us from our increasing consumption. Jobs were lost. The economy sank further into recession. And the nation did not take action.

“Then, in the 1990s, there was a bitter debate over increasing fuel efficiency standards in automobiles, yet minimal action was taken despite the technological capabilities to go further. I have long said that if Congress had passed higher standards in the 1990s – standards I supported - then our consumption and annual fuel costs now would be half. However, the oil corporations and automobile makers were against such standards and now lose billions of dollars to foreign competitors who were forward-thinking, developed fuel efficient technologies and sell hybrid vehicles that get 40 to 50 miles per gallon.

“The ‘American Clean Energy and Security Act’ is the opportunity to break the cycle of inaction and finally move our nation towards real energy independence.

“This is by no means a perfect bill but, for New Jersey businesses and families, many of the federal standards that will be created are mirroring state standards long on the books. For the past decade, New Jersey has been forward-looking in its energy policy and sought to establish diverse, renewable alternative sources of energy to meet the state’s needs. From the development of biofuels based on crop waste and planning for additional nuclear reactors, to building small and large-scale wind farms and countless solar panel projects, individuals and municipalities recognized opportunities and took action.

“In the process, new local businesses were founded and jobs were created in the emerging ‘green industry’ here in New Jersey. What must happen next is the growth of domestic manufacturing of the materials needed for alternative energy production, such as solar cells, wind turbines and environmentally-friendly buildings. This legislation rightly focuses on growing that manufacturing base, creating green jobs and finally establishing our energy independence. The positive effects will be felt nationally and here in South Jersey. These are objectives I have long believed and advocated for as part of a national energy policy.

“The economic crisis has affected every resident and every small business in South Jersey. Families and employers are making difficult decisions each day and they are looking to Congress for assistance and leadership. In working through this comprehensive bill, I heard from South Jersey business owners, manufacturers and energy producers, consumer and environmental groups and local residents about the real impact specific provisions of the bill would have. I also reviewed emails and phone opinions that came into my offices, which numbered in the hundreds.

“Today’s vote was by no means an easy vote. As the legislation continues to work through the Senate and be presented to Congress for final consideration, I will re-evaluate any changes that are made to ensure our state’s interests, as well as the interests of South Jersey businesses and families, are promoted and protected.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Press release on Coast Guard benefits

Frank LoBiondo sent out a press release today on new legislation for Coast Guard benefits:

House Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Ranking Member Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the quality of life for members of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and their families. Currently, members of the Armed Services and their families enjoy several housing, educational and related benefits not afforded to their counterparts in the USCG, which is under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. LoBiondo’s legislation H.R. 2901, the “Coast Guard Service Member Benefits Improvement Act,” seeks to remedy these discrepancies.

Click through if you want the details.

Health Care Reform

I never know if we should consider Frank LoBiondo to be responsible for everything "House Republicans" say, but in any case, Roll Call reports on the state of Republican health care reform:

House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn’t know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it.

You may think the reporter is being harsh, but after all, wasn't that their plan on Iraq too?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Frank LoBiondo votes against funding troops

Well, that's the headline I should write after years of Republican propaganda that anyone who voted against a war supplemental funding bill is against the troops. So we can say Frank LoBiondo voted against funding the troops today. But of course, I don't believe it. I'll quote my Blue Jersey post:

So John Adler's office is sending out a triumphant press release that he "supports the troops" by voting for today's war supplemental. I guess we can say that the Republicans, by their previous standards, don't as they all voted against it. Blah blah blah. I just hope President Obama lives up to his commitment to withdraw troops from Iraq, as so far he's switched to plan that involves not actually withdrawing them in 2009. Where is the money for these wars? I'd rather just mail a check to bail out California and any other state, or just not borrow it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Really? LoBiondo for Lt. Gov?

Lieutenant Governor is a new post, approved by New Jersey voters, that will replace the Governor if necessary - so it's basically a Vice President for New Jersey: A worthless job unless there's a vacancy, but at least we won't end up with the Senate President serving as Governor and Senator at the same time. Chris Christie and Jon Corzine will get to choose their Lt. Gov. running mates -- we get to vote on the pair as a package deal. I haven't been paying attention to speculation on the Republican side for Lt. Governor, so I was a little surprised to see that Frank LoBiondo is on the shortlist. The good news for him with this odd-year election is that if Christie wins (as polls suggest), he gets to be Lt. Gov, and if Christie gets beat, he stays in Congress. Everyone says life in the minority of the House of Representatives is nowhere near as "fun" as life in majority, so I guess it is plausible.

Still, I can't help but doubt that LoBiondo would give up a safe seat for the opportunity to serve in a minor role for 8 years, getting to be governor only by winning an election in 2017(!), or succeeding in case of a resignation due to scandal. (It would have to be a scandal -- even if President Obama seems to love appointing Republicans, he's not going to be choosing a hack like Christie for anything, and LoBiondo can hardly think it's likely that a Republican will win in 2012 and appoint Christie to be Attorney General.) A real cynic would say that LoBiondo would take the job because he thinks Christie will end up in a scandal, but I promised to be hopeful.

Obviously as a Democrat in the Second District, I'd like Corzine victory most of all, but Christie could pick people much worse than LoBiondo, and it would be nice to have a open seat race in 2010. So I say, Frank LoBiondo for Lt. Governor!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gingrich's comments

I see over at The Hill that Democrats are calling on Republicans to respond to Newt Gingrich's claim that President Obama has 'already failed.'. Gingrich, of course, was raising money for the NRCC, so Republican Representatives are financially benefiting from the speech. According to the Hill, the following press release (or something like it -- I've changed the name) was sent to Frank LoBiondo:

"Does Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) agree with Newt Gingrich's absurd comment that President Obama has already failed? After last night's fundraiser for Congressional Republicans, Representative LoBiondo needs to clarify whether or not he agrees with Gingrich, Palin, and other obstructionist Republicans who are banking on President Obama's failure instead of offering solutions that invest in America's success and get our economy back on track."

I'm not exactly expecting a reply. Republicans are voting against Obama's plans for economic recovery, so I imagine that's exactly what LoBiondo thinks.