Category Archives: Congressman Frank Pallone

Congressman Frank Pallone’s Statement on Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Insurance and Medicare Doc Fix

WASHINGTON D.C.—On Friday, February 17, 2012, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives on the extension of the Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Insurance and Medicare doctor’s payment fix. The bill will continue vital programs that provide tax cuts averaging $1,000 for more that 160 millions Americans, extend unemployment insurance payments for those who are out of work through no fault of their own and ensure that doctors can continue to treat Medicare patients. While the extensions of the programs are critical, Congressman Pallone expressed his disappointment that the programs have been saved by cutting benefits to federal workers and payments to hospitals and nursing facilities.

The following is the statement Congressman Pallone delivered on the House Floor:

Thank you, M. Speaker. Today’s payroll tax conference agreement will provide $1,000 in the pockets of more than 160 million Americans and ensure that approximately 3.5 million Americans will continue to benefit from much needed unemployment insurance. We have also protected seniors’ ability to see their doctors with an SGR fix through the end of the year.

Despite these critical provisions, this is a difficult vote to take. I am greatly disappointed over how these extensions are offset. First, the unemployment extension is paid for on the backs of middle class Federal workers. These hardworking men and women continue to be targeted in this Congress – but yet they are not the reason for our nation’s deficits. Meanwhile, my Republican colleagues refuse to require the wealthiest few to pay their fair share.

Secondly, the SGR fix is being paid for with critical health care dollars. In fact, the bill slashes one of the most important investments this country has ever made in preventive health. That is extremely short-sighted. We cannot continue down that path or we will never address the real cost concerns of our health care system.

Sadly, the bill also manages to cut from one provider – hospitals and nursing homes – to help pay for another – physicians. We cannot rob Peter to pay Paul and our health care system cannot sustain further provider cuts. Meanwhile, there is still no permanent solution to an ongoing SGR problem that cannot continue to be kicked down the road again.

I will vote in favor of this bill, but I do so with grave reservations. Thank you.

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, House Floor statement, Medicare, payroll tax, tax cuts, unemployment benefits

Congressman Pallone Calls for Less Restrictive Flounder Quotas for Commercial and Recreational Fishermen

2012 summer flounder quota is 26 percent lower than 2011

WASHINGTON D.C. — Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) on Wednesday submitted a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) expressing disappointment in the reduced 2012 quota limits for summer flounder stock in the recently released interim specifications. The Congressman requested that NMFS approve a quota that is less restrictive. The proposed 2012 quota represents an approximate 26 percent reduction from 2011, which would significantly impact the recreational and commercial fisherman whose livelihoods depend on a fair flounder quota.

For years, fishermen in New Jersey have sacrificed catch and complied with strict quotas approved by NMFS to rebuild the flounder stock. Recently, NMFS declared the summer flounder stock rebuilt, but fishermen will still face restrictive fish quotas rather than benefitting from years of limited access to fish stocks.

New Jersey fishermen have abided by restrictive quotas long enough, waiting for the full flounder stock to be rebuilt,” said Pallone. “Now that the stock is rebuilt, it is critical to approve a less drastic flounder quota for 2012 so fishermen and related businesses do not suffer economically and can continue to operate.”

In the long term, in order to lift the burden on fishermen, Pallone has introduced the “Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding Americas Fisheries Act,” which will give the Department of Commerce the necessary authority to ensure that the nation’s fisheries are managed in a scientific way that protects fishermen and jobs.

“I hope the National Marine Fisheries Services will support my bill to create flexibility in managing fisheries so that both fishermen and fish are protected for the future,” said Pallone.

The following is the text of Congressman Pallone’s letter to NMFS:

February 16, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Service
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Dear Acting Assistant Administrator Rauch:

As you are aware, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently released interim specifications for the summer flounder stock for 2012. While I realize these specifications are interim and based on recommendations from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, I have concerns with the proposed reductions in quota.

The proposed specifications represent an approximately 26 percent reduction over last year’s quota which will have a significant impact on the regions recreational and commercial fishermen and related businesses. Particularly during these difficult economic times with American families struggling, the National Marine Fisheries Service must consider the economic and social impact of such a drastic decision.

As you are aware, NMFS recently declared the summer flounder stock as rebuilt. This is not an accomplishment that has come without pain. Recreational and commercial fishermen have sacrificed catch and complied with strict quotas that were based on an arbitrary rebuilding timeline. Fortunately, in the case of summer flounder, a 3 year extension reduced the annual pain that was inflicted. Still, fishermen were promised that this rigid rebuilding timeline would yield greater fishing opportunities once a stock was rebuilt.

As indicated by this year’s summer flounder quota reductions, it appears that fishermen are not benefiting as promised from these years of restrictive policies. This is in part due to the continued reliance on an overly precautious approach to management which unnecessarily places the burden on fishermen. I have proposed H.R. 3061, the Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding Americas Fisheries Act, which will provide the Department of Commerce with the necessary authority to ensure that our nation’s fisheries are managed in a sound scientific way that also protects fishermen and their contributions to our economic vitality.

I believe that it is critical that NMFS support these efforts to create flexibility in managing fisheries so that both fishermen and fish are protected. I ask that NMFS further evaluate its options for the upcoming summer flounder fishing year and approve final specifications that are not as drastic as those currently proposed.

Thank you for considering this letter.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, fisheries, fishermen, flounder qoutas, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

Lautenberg, Menendez, Pallone Call on President to Reconsider Plan to Close NOAA Sandy Hook Lab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2012

WASHINGTON—One day after the Obama Administration released a budget plan that eliminates funding for the fisheries lab at Sandy Hook, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), today called on the President to reconsider his decision to close the lab. The members vowed to work through the Congressional appropriations process to restore funding for this successful research facility.

“Today, the research that is performed at the NOAA lab produces vital information on marine species that serves as a foundation for our economy and jobs across the region,” the Congress members wrote to President Obama. “We will work to prevent the closure of this facility during the upcoming appropriations process and we ask that you reconsider your position. The NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook is a vital facility and maintaining it will allow the important scientific research that is performed in one of the country’s most unique and biologically diverse environments to continue.”

A copy of the letter’s text is below:

February 14, 2012

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our strong opposition to the proposal in your Fiscal Year 2013 Budget to close the NOAA Fisheries Service James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The closure of this lab would have a negative impact on NOAA’s ability to carry out its mission and damage progress that has been made in fisheries-based scientific research.

The NOAA laboratory, dedicated in September 1961, was the first federal scientific laboratory devoted solely to research on marine recreational species. The opening of this lab reflected the importance of acquiring scientific information to support the sustainability of marine resources that are greatly important to coastal communities. Today, the research that is performed at the NOAA lab produces vital information on marine species that serves as a foundation for our economy and jobs across the region.

The NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook performs critical research that not only supports New Jersey marine habitats, but also provides greater insight into the issues our nation faces in maintaining a clean and sustainable ocean environment. The decision to close the NOAA laboratory will put all of this critical research at risk and limit our understanding of how we can best protect the ocean environment and the ocean-based economy.

This past September, NOAA staff including Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Eric Schwaab celebrated 50 years of important achievements made at the NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook. Now, just a few short months later, your budget proposes to put an end to the important work that is done at the lab.

We will work to prevent the closure of this facility during the upcoming appropriations process and we ask that you reconsider your position. The NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook is a vital facility and maintaining it will allow the important scientific research that is performed in one of the country’s most unique and biologically diverse environments to continue.

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Filed under budget cuts, Congressman Frank Pallone, fisheries, NOAA labs, President Obama, Sandy Hook, US. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Pallone Announces $12.3 Million for Beach Replenishment in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Washington DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced Wednesday that $12.3 million will be awarded to fund beach replenishment in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach thanks to a request Congressman Pallone submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This funding will allow the Army Corps to begin replenishing the beaches in these towns in Fall 2012.

“This funding is vitally important for the Shore and I commend the Army Corps of Engineers for responding to my funding request for these projects,” said Pallone. “Beach replenishment projects make it possible for millions of people to enjoy the Jersey shore every summer, and come hurricane season, provide a protective barrier to beachfront communities.”

Last month the Army Corps of Engineers completed a contract that replenished a portion of the beach in Monmouth Beach that went forward due to funding secured by Pallone in 2011. The $12.3 million secured by Pallone in 2012 will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the rest of Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright. Significant erosion has occurred in these areas over the last few years which can put homes and businesses in jeopardy when a storm hits the coast.

The money was approved as part of the fiscal year 2012 appropriations legislation passed in late December that funds the government through the end of the year. Pallone worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to request that funding be allocated to this project. The Army Corps of Engineers will begin the beach replenishment project later this year.

In addition to this beach replenishment project, Pallone also secured funding for a number of other projects in the 6th Congressional district. The South River Flood Control Project received $125,000, which will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to continue with the Preconstruction, Engineering and Design phase. The Shark River Inlet maintenance dredging project received $495,000, which will enable the Corps to dredge the river’s inlet this year. The Sandy Hook Bay at Leonardo project will receive $127,710 for future maintenance dredging.

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Filed under Army Corps of Engineers, beach replenishment, Congressman Frank Pallone, Leonardo NJ, Monmouth Beach, Sandy Hook bay, Sea Bright NJ, the Jersey shore

Pallone Announces Grant to All-Volunteer First Responder Squad in Atlantic Highlands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 2, 2012

First Responders to Receive Funds for Improved Equipment and Training Opportunities

WASHINGTON D.C.—Today, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) announced the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad will be awarded a $13,381 grant under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

“Thanks to this grant, the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad will have more resources for training and equipment so they may continue to provide valuable, free medical services in the community,” said Pallone.

The AFG program is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security and is part of a coordinated effort to improve the nation’s ability to respond to emergencies.

The Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad is an all-volunteer emergency medical services and rescue operation which provides the Atlantic Highlands with free, around-the-clock emergency medical services. The Squad will be able to use the funds for training and equipment.

In 2011, under the U.S Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, the AFG Program delivered more than $380 million in competitive grants to the nation’s fire departments and first responders. The Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad competed with fire departments and first responders throughout the country and were awarded funding based on the strength and success of the organization and their applications.

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Filed under Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, Atlantic Highlands, Congressman Frank Pallone, FEMA, first aid squad, first responders, homeland security

Congressman Frank Pallone Introduces Bill Bringing Sports Betting to New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2012
Contacts: Ray Zaccaro (202) 225-4671

Trenton, N.J. – On Monday January 23, 2012, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.(NJ-06) will stand with NJ State Senators Raymond Lesniak (NJ-20) and Jim Whelan (NJ-02) at the New Jersey State House to announce legislation he is introducing that will open sports betting to New Jersey. The bill will exclude New Jersey from the federal prohibition on professional and amateur sports gambling.

In November, 2011 New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure amending the state constitution to authorize the Legislature to enact laws allowing sports wagering in New Jersey. On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill allowing people over the age of 21 to place a bet on a sporting event in-person at special lounges created in casinos, racetracks or at the site of a former racetrack

“The existing federal law is unconstitutional and arbitrary, giving four states access to this billion-dollar industry, while shutting out the rest,” said Pallone. “The citizens of New Jersey have made it clear they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting. This legislation will help even the playing field and uphold our state’s wishes on what is clearly a state issue.”

Senator Lesniak said, “We appreciate Congressman Pallone’s effort to get Congress to give New Jersey what our residents overwhelmingly want, the same ability to place bets on sporting events that it has given to the residents of Nevada and to boost revenues and jobs at our casinos and racetracks.”

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, Gov. Chris Christie, media advisory, NJ Senator Raymond Lesniak (NJ-20), NJ State Senator Jim Whelan (NJ-02), Sports Betting, Trenton NJ

Congressman Pallone To Stands With Middletown Officials to Announce Fire Grant Tomorrow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 12, 2012

Middletown, N.J. – On Friday, January 13, 2012, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. will visit Middletown Fire Department’s Navesink Hook & Ladder Fire Company station to announce a grant for nearly half a million dollars that will help ensure the safety of the Middletown community. The $465,320 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) will be used to purchase new radios to replace equipment made obsolete by new Federal Communications Commission standards.

During his visit the Congressman will tour the fire station and discuss the importance of public safety with Middletown officials including Mayor Anthony Fiore, Fire Chief Andrew Spears and other local leaders.

“When dealing with public safety issues, having modernized communications equipment can mean the difference between life and death,” said Pallone. “This funding will make a difference locally by making it safer for firefighters and first responders to do their jobs and save lives.”

In 2011, over one million dollars in grant money was awarded to fire departments in the sixth Congressional district to improve community emergency services. Pallone recently announced a $175,468 grant to the Ocean Township Fire District 1 for a new breathing apparatus, which will replace 36 units that are at the end of their useful life as well as $617,500 to acquire equipment like pump trucks, rescue vehicles, ambulances and fireboats.

“At a time when other funding is being cut for critical services such as public safety, health and education, it’s more important than ever that the federal government step in with critical support to protect our communities.”

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Filed under Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), Congressman Frank Pallone, Middletown NJ, Navesink Hook -N- Ladder Fire Company, press release