As the former chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the author of more than a dozen laws to modernize, expand and improve the services provided by the Veterans Administration (VA), I see the need to review and evaluate existing programs to ensure that they align with the promise a grateful nation makes to those who wear and have worn the uniforms of the United States military. As President Lincoln so eloquently said at the end of the Civil War: “Let us strive…to care for him who shall have borne the battle…” a phrase later adopted as the motto of the VA.
That is why I co-sponsored and twice voted for the “Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act.” This bipartisan legislation is named in honor of the late Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran whose story is not unfamiliar to many who have attempted to navigate the VA’s bureaucracy to receive the care they have earned. Clay Hunt was one of the many veterans who experience some form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service, yet he did not receive adequate mental health care in the VA system and took his own life at the age of 28.
Monmouth County Clerk M. Clair French address the Monmouth GOP convention. Chairman Shaun Golden in background. photo by Art Gallagher
An impressive crowd of over 400 Monmouth Republican County Committee members gathered on Saturday morning to nominate their candidates for State Assembly, County Clerk and Freeholder. The size of the crowd was impressive not only because of the weather but because the results of the convention were a foregone conclusion as there were no challengers to the incumbent Assembly Members, Freeholder or Governor Chris Christie’s nominee for County Clerk.
Free of any competitive tensions, the mood at Colts Neck High School was upbeat, friendly and proud among the grassroots leaders who came out for Chairman Shaun Golden first nominating convention. Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso noted both the size and enthusiasm of the crowd. “This crowd is almost as large as last year’s convention when we had a competition for the freeholder nominations,” DiMaso said, “We’re in really great shape and that is a testament to Shaun’s leadership.”
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa and Human Rights, responded to the controversy about a remark concerning homosexual rights and human rights that he made during a hearing last week on combating violence inflicted by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigera with a statement issued to MoreMonmouthMusings:
“All governments have a duty to protect everyone and I am unequivocally opposed to acts of violence against anyone,” Smith said, “All individuals, including LGBT persons, should be treated with respect and compassion.”
If Republican Congressmen Chris Smith and Tom MacArthur vote for John Boehner (R-Ohio) to be the Speaker of the 114th Congress then they will both be breaking two foundational campaign promises: the first to defeat Obamacare and the second to end Obama’s policy of Executive Amnesty for Illegal Aliens. If they break either campaign promise both are certain face a mutiny at home by voters in two years.
On the issues of Amnesty and Obamacare, Speaker John Boehner has given Obama’s policies the Congressional stamp of approval. In the $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill that Boehner fought for and passed in December 2014, there were provisions that provided short term funding of Obama’s amnesty program.
Prior to the Republican Congress’s financial support, Obama was on shaky legal ground; however by providing funding for Executive Amnesty Boehner breathed new life into Obama’s strategy. The U.S. Supreme Court in Youngstown, a case dealing with the executive seizure of private property in the absence of congressional approval, established that, “Presidential authority is strongest when acting with the expressed or implied consent of Congress.” Through Boehner Congress has shown consent.
TRENTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency should stop demanding that Hurricane Sandy victims pay back money they mistakenly received from the government, members of the New Jersey congressional delegation said in a letter released today. Both U.S. senators and 10 of the state’s 12 U.S. representatives signed a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate asking… Read the rest of this entry »
Governor Christie on the Belmar boardwalk, August 2011
Governor Chris Christie will be making several appearances on the Jersey Shore tomorrow, Thusday, July 3.
At 11am Christie will join Congressman Chris Smith, State Senator Jennifer Beck, Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley and Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of Ocean Grove’s newly rebuilt boardwalk.
At 1:15pm, Christie will sign S846/504, a Boating Safety Act which increases the penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident, at the NJ State Marine Police Services Bureau Station in Point Pleasant Borough. Follow the bill signing, Christie is scheduled to walk the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk.
The International Megan’s Law cleared a major hurdle Friday when the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed it. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) has worked to pass the bill, which would expand the system of registering…
The Obama Administration is considering holding a contest for areas impacted by disasters other than Superstorm Sandy. The “winners” would get between $1 billion and $2 billion of the remaining $3.6 billion is Sandy relief dollars being doled out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal
The Record reports that New Jersey Congressmen Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson; Albio Sires, D-West New York; and Frank Pallone, D-Long Branch, and Sen. Bob Menendez are urging HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan not to divert federal aid to projects in other parts of the country. Members of the New York Congressional Delegation are making similar pleas.
Bookerism of the Day
Where’s Senator Cory Booker? He’s proselytizing on twitter.
Sires told The Record that the entire New Jersey delegation could join together in opposition to a nationwide contest for the money. That would be great! Sires should lead the Democrats in the delegation in ending the partisanship that has been dominating the discourse over Sandy recovery and sign the letter to Donovan and Michael Boots, the Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality that Congressman Chris Smith invited him, and all members of the delegation to sign requesting a meeting to hash out the multitude of issues New Jersey residents are having with the HUD relief process.
Pallone says legislation is not necessary, regulators can change the rules
Governor Chris Christie listens to a resident’s question in Belmar. March 25, 2014 MMM photo/Art Gallagher. Click for larger view.
Governor Chris Christie told the 650 people in attendance at his Town Hall Meeting in Belmar yesterday that he went to Washington last week to ask HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to waive the rule that is keeping Sandy victims from rebuilding their homes while they are waiting to find out if they will be approved for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grants of up to $150,000.
The RREM program will not reimburse homeowners for work done on their homes prior to their acceptance into the program. Over 3000 people are on the RREM waiting list for the second round of HUD funding which is expected to be awarded late this spring. They are in limbo, living in temporary housing, paying rent and mortgages, while their ruined homes are dormant.
Christie said that Donovan told him he could not waive the rule because a specific federal law prohibits grants being used to pay for work performed prior to the federal approval being secured.