Broken Promises

By Ernesto Cullari

Ernesto_Cullari_GDA1If 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.

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Posted: January 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Ernesto Cullari, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

N.J. lawmakers to FEMA: Stop demanding Sandy victims give back government overpayments

Shore Blvd, Keansburg Oct. 30, 2012

Shore Blvd, Keansburg Oct. 30, 2012

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 »

Posted: December 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, Chris Smith, Congress, Cory Booker, FEMA, Frank Pallone, Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Christie Hits the Beach in Monmouth and Ocean Counties on Thursday

Governor Christie on the Belmar boardwalk, August 2011

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.



Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Chris Smith, Jersey Shore | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

International Megan’s Law moves through Congress

International Megan’s Law moves through Congress (via

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…

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Posted: May 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Congress | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Obama Administration Looking To Divert Billions in Sandy Funds Away From New Jersey and New York

By Art Gallagher,

repost-us-image-10549927The 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.

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Posted: April 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Cory Booker, Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christie: Federal Law Keeping RREM Applicants in Limbo

Pallone says legislation is not necessary, regulators can change the rules

MMM photo/Art Gallagher

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.

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Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Belmar, Chris Christie, Frank Pallone, Keansburg, RREM, Stephen Sweeney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

House Passes ‘Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act’

Bill would reform National Flood Insurance Program, aims to protect homeowners from steep insurance hikes

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted last night to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing huge flood insurance premium rate increases, including many still recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents severely damaged areas in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, praised the vote.

“The bill makes targeted and necessary reforms and will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who simply cannot afford them—and cannot find a buyer to take them on, leaving them stranded and without a solution,” Smith said.  “Many cannot afford the recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty. Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.”

The bill passed in a 309-91 vote. If enacted the bill will provide relief and stability to these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  It also provides a mechanism for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and increases transparency by making information publicly available to impacted parties.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), co-sponsored by Smith, remedies many of the unintended consequences of the so-called Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. It repeals certain rate increases on Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) properties and restores Grandfathered Rates for Post-FIRM properties that were built to code at the time of construction. It prevents a property sale from triggering rate increases and refunds those who have already faced one.

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Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pallone Lied To HUD Inspector General When Asking For #Stronger Than Storm Audit

Christie was not first choice as star of #STTS campaign

Pallone njtv senate debate

Congressman Frank Pallone during the 2013 Democratic U.S. Senate Primary Debate

Congressman Frank Pallone lied to the Department and Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General when he asked that they audit the Christie Administration’s 2013 post-Superstorm Sandy Shore Tourism ad campaign.

In his August 8, 2013 letter to HUD Inspector General David Montoya, Pallone said:

Recently released documents relating to the bidding process and contract award for this marketing campaign show that the contract was awarded to a firm that is charging over $2 million more than the next lowest bidder to develop the marketing plan.  The winning firm is being paid $4.7 million for their work, while a comparable firm proposed billing the state $2.5 million for similar work.  This large discrepancy between the competing proposals raises concerns as to whether these federal funds are being spent in the most cost effective manner, and should be reviewed by your office.

I am also concerned that the winning bid proposed including Governor Chris Christie in the advertisements, while the lower cost proposal that was not selected did not.  As you know, the Governor is running for reelection this year in a high profile race.  It is inappropriate for taxpayer-funded dollars that are critical to our state’s recovery from this natural disaster to fund commercials that could potentially benefit a political campaign.  In these sensitive circumstances, even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided.

The fact that this particular proposal was chosen despite an obvious conflict of interest, in addition to the higher costs, raises serious concerns with the entire process.  I fought hard for passage of the Sandy aid package in Congress by assuring my colleagues that this funding was critical to our recovery and that it would be spent responsibly without waste, fraud and abuse.  Many in Congress objected to this funding precisely because of concerns their citizens’ tax dollars would be misspent.  In that regard, the state’s mismanagement of taxpayer funds for this marketing campaign is extremely troubling, especially when there are so many New Jersey residents still in need of assistance to recover and rebuild from this historic storm.

But the firm behind the #STTS ad campaign, MWW of East Rutherford, said their proposal was $2.745 million under the $25 million budget and $1.47 million lower than the runner-up’s bid.  MWW said their proposal offered the lowest hourly rate of all bids.

(Vote Here: Which song would Frank Pallone choose for the New Jersey Tourism ad?)

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Posted: January 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Shutdown: N.J. Republicans mirror deepening divisions within national party

Shutdown: N.J. Republicans mirror deepening divisions within national party (via

WASHINGTON — Rep. Scott Garrett insists Democrats are to blame for the shutdown — now in its 11th day — saying it was them who “failed to fund the federal government” and must negotiate a rollback of the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Leonard Lance…

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Posted: October 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Government Shutdown | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Rep Chris Smith: Don’t Bomb Syria, Prosecute War Crimes

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) has proposed a solution to the use of chemical weapons in Syria that does not involve the United States bombing the country — the investigation and prosecution of those crimes against humanity.

Smith, New Jersey’s longest serving congressman and a well regarded champion of human rights, introduced a Concurrent Resolution last week that, if passed by both the House and Senate, would direct President Obama to work with the United Nations to set up a tribunal to investigate war crimes war crimes committed by the Syrian government and the rebel groups waging a civil war in the county.

In a interview with The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer, Smith, who has previously worked on war crimes tribunals involving Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, criticizes the Obama targeting “20 year-olds who might be on an air force base” rather the actual perpetrators of use of sarin gas against the Syria people, be it the Assad regime or the rebels.

A tribunal would be a non-lethal alternative to a bombing campaign — which no one knows how long it will last. During the House hearing [on Wednesday], I asked Secretary Kerry: How do you define “limited”? How do you define “short duration”? And he didn’t answer. There’s no sense that bombing will end this war. No one is even remotely suggesting that. And I’m equally concerned about a strike where there are consequences that have or haven’t been anticipated that could occur.

Smith said the tribunal should convene immediately and that there in no need to wait for the end of the Syrian civil war.

Smith said that he asked Secretary of State John Kerry at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee if the Obama administration had proof that the chemical weapons were deployed by the Assad regime.  Kerry wouldn’t answer.

Smith said that he anticipated that Russia, China and the rest of the world community would support an investigative prosecutorial tribunal.

Read Smith’s interview with Plumer here.

Posted: September 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Syria | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments »