Saturday, February 27, 2010

Frank LoBiondo on proposed Coast Guard budget

The Cape May County Herald has a good article on Representative Frank LoBiondo's reaction to the Obama Administration proposed Coast Guard budget. The budget calls for spending $10.08 billion, but this is a $75 million dollar reduction. The Coast Guard has brief post which includes a link to "All Hands" email by Commandant Allen which discusses the choices that were made in this difficult fiscal environment.

It will be interesting to see if LoBiondo ever backs tax increases to pay for all the government operations he says it would be a "disaster"to cut. In my opinion, these cuts are a direct consequence of the disaster Republican deregulation of Wall Street, waste of a trillion dollars in Iraq, and the rest of the extravagant spending over the last decade. Still, he expresses his concerns about these particular cuts very well, and I was convinced they are serious concerns.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LoBiondo votes to end health insurance anti-trust exemption

Frank LoBiondo was one of 406 Representatives who voted to end the anti-trust exemption for the health care industry, or as the bill's sponsor put it, To restore the application of the Federal antitrust laws to the business of health insurance to protect competition and consumers. The overwhelming bipartisan majority on such a sensible measure is good to see.

Scott Garrett was the only New Jersey Representative to vote no, cementing his extreme status.

(Of course, earlier in the day LoBiondo voted to "recommit with instructions" which would have effectively killed the bill, but apparently he believes that such party-line votes don't really count in terms of supporting the bill. No doubt he knew the motion to recommitt would fail so maybe it's really true. You can decide for yourself.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LoBiondo on Lautenberg's cancer

I certainly agree with Rep. LoBiondo's sentiments on Frank Lautenberg's fight with cancer:

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, said in a statement: “I join with countless others in South Jersey and across the state who look forward to his full recovery,” while state Sen. James Whelan, D-Atlantic, stressed that “I know that he will overcome this difficult situation, just as he has overcome other challenges.”

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Frank LoBiondo on aviation industry and South Jersey

The Daily Journal has a new piece by Frank LoBiondo:

One year ago, I discussed how it was imperative our region look for opportunities to strengthen and expand new and emerging industries that could provide significant revenues and create local high-paying jobs.

While tourism, gaming, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and small businesses will always have a measurable role to play, there needs to be more diversification of our work force to ensure South Jersey's short-term recovery and long-term economic growth. Back then, I singled out the aviation industry as having deep roots already in the region. There have been significant advancements that will make the aviation sector a key part of our local economy for decades to come.

In the past 12 months, we have seen considerable investment made at the Atlantic City International Airport...

Likewise, we have seen tangible progress in establishing the premier location for aviation research and development in conjunction with the FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township...

In the first weeks of 2010, we have already heard that Boeing -- a leader in aviation -- will be locating some of its post-production work to upgrade Chinook helicopters for the U.S. Army at the Millville Airport.

Good stuff, and it's worth reading the full story. Work like this to bring jobs to the district certainly is a reason why LoBiondo is pretty safe even though this is a district that can vote Democratic.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Our district gets emergency aid for snowstorm disaster

Today, President Barack Obama signed a New Jersey disaster declaration:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of New Jersey and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a snowstorm during the period of December 19-20, 2009.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the snowstorm in the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, and Salem.

In addition, assistance is available to State and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including snow assistance, for a continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Sounds like the NJ2 congressional district will be helped a lot by this declaration.

Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez put out a joint statement welcoming this:

U.S. Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez today
applauded President Obama for declaring a major disaster and making
federal funds available to help New Jersey communities recover from
the December snowstorms. Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez supported the
state’s request for a disaster declaration in a letter to President
Obama on January 20, 2010.

“With more snowstorms hammering New Jersey, this emergency funding
will help the communities that were hit in December defray mounting
costs,” the Senators stated. “This federal funding commitment will be
an important boost to the state and many of the local agencies tasked
with responding to the weekend snowstorms.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Debt vote, but it's hypocrisy all around

Along with every other Republican, Frank LoBiondo voted against increasing the national debt ceiling and "pay-as-you-go" rules today. Of course, you're not foolish enough to think that his vote against debt means anythihg. Back when Republicans controlled the House and the Presidency, they were the ones who voted for debt ceiling increases and Democrats voted against them. For example, here's LoBiondo's 2004 vote to increase the debt ceiling. So now it's the other way around, but it doesn't mean anything sincere.

The second vote may be a little more sincere. Republicans like to give tax cuts without cutting spending, which would be illegal under the "pay-as-you-go" rules. Of course, it's the opposite of being a "fiscal conservative."

Frank LoBiondo gets an F from the NAACP (but it's a high F)

The NAACP has released its grades of the 111th Congress and Frank LoBiondo got a 56% percent, which, although more than half, gets an F using the NAACP's traditional high-school style grading system. I have posted all NAACP New Jersey grades at Blue Jersey, where you'll see LoBiondo is beat out by only Chris Smith amongst Republicans. Certainly he's no Scott Garrett (8%).

The Republican Plan: Cut Social Security, Cut Medicare, Balance Budget in 2060

To my knowledge, Frank LoBiondo has not put out his own plan to deal with the long-term deficit, so we'll have to assume he probably supports more or less the new House Republican plan, though it's not officially endorsed, and some Republicans realize it is a political loser as it privatizes Social Security and Medicare. An analysis of the plan is very revealing:

In all the Ryan budget plan dubbed the "Roadmap for America's Future" would take the deficit from 11 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to 4.8 percent in 2030 and 2.6 percent in 2050. The Congressional Budget Office shows the GOP plan would end the deficit around 2060 and they would produce a surplus of 6 percent of gross domestic product by 2083.

Well, I certainly hope to live to see 2060, though statistics say I probably won't, but why I or anyone would want to lose Social Security and Medicare benefits and still run a huge deficit is beyond me. Privatizing Social Security is doubly foolish after the recent crash, we already have plenty of exposure to the stock market and real estate.

Also, for those Republicans complaining about the Democrats' proposed taxes on "Cadillac" health insurance plans, we have this: The Ryan plan "also eliminates income and payroll tax exclusions for employment-based health insurance starting next year."