Category Archives: US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Democrats Pounce After Christie’s Misstep

By DAVID M. HALBFINGER – The New York Times

Democratic BlackBerrys up and down the East Coast started buzzing at 12:18 a.m. on Tuesday with news out of New Jersey: The Republican candidate for governor, Christopher J. Christie, had lent $46,000 to a subordinate and failed to disclose it as required by law.

For Democrats, who have watched, despairingly, as he galloped ahead of the incumbent, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, in the polls, it was a rare stumble by Mr. Christie, a former federal prosecutor running on a platform of ethics reform.

They were gleeful, and determined to strike. Into the wee hours and over the next few days, Mr. Corzine’s aides strategized with White House aides and other Democratic operatives about how to make it a national story, suggested loaded questions for bloggers and reporters to ask Mr. Christie, enlisted the state party to file a complaint with elections officials, and sent young staff members out to dog Mr. Christie’s events with signs spelling “$46,000.”

It is unclear what the misstep will mean for Mr. Christie, who quickly and profusely apologized. But the gaffe marked a pivotal moment, with both sides battling not only over the issue, but also about what this expensive, marquee governor’s race will be fought over.

Republicans, who cheered in July when a federal investigation resulted in corruption charges against dozens of local officials, believing they underscored Mr. Christie’s strengths, are now calling for him to focus on more conventional issues like property taxes, jobs and education.

Democrats, seeing a chance to turn a referendum on an unpopular incumbent into a referendum on a challenger with some holes in his armor, want to talk about nothing else.

“There’s a lot more optimism around Jon Corzine’s candidacy now,” said David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign manager, who cut his political teeth in New Jersey. “When the real economic questions are put in front of voters, and now you’ve got questions about Christie’s character and ethics, there’s a pathway that’s a little wider. It’s still a tough fight and a little uphill, but there’s a pathway.”

New Jersey is enjoying outsize attention the year after a presidential election because it is one of only two statewide contests in the nation; the other is in Virginia. And New Jersey is still considered far more friendly to Democrats than Virginia is; the party holds a 650,000-vote registration edge, and a Republican has not won statewide in 12 years.

Still, what were once considered Mr. Corzine’s political assets now look a lot like baggage. He is a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs precisely at the high-water mark of revulsion against Wall Street. He is a proponent of expensive health care and prekindergarten programs at a time of growing nervousness about soaring deficits and ambitious spending plans.

Those who have lived through past New Jersey campaigns believe the contest will ultimately be decided on pocketbook issues. Mr. Christie, who spent seven years as a United States attorney, has compiled a withering indictment of the governor: higher taxes, unemployment higher than in New York or Pennsylvania, a business climate rated among the nation’s worst, an exodus of college students and corporations. Mr. Corzine said things would have gotten far worse had he not been in charge. But that is harder to prove, polls show that most voters do not buy it, and Republicans believe many people have run out of patience with the governor.

“There is such Democrat fatigue in this state,” said Kevin O’Toole, the Republican chairman in Essex County, which includes Newark. “Obama’s right, it’s time for a change.”

Worse still, for Democrats, Mr. Corzine has struggled mightily to excite the party’s base. Blacks and Hispanics have openly flirted with Mr. Christie over issues like school vouchers. Environmental advocates have already deserted Mr. Corzine. The Corzine campaign is aggressively lobbying gay men and lesbians to stick with the governor.

Mr. Corzine’s aides had been saying for months that they only needed to fight Mr. Christie to a draw on the subject of corruption, because they believe if the campaign is about the issues, they will win, given the Democrats’ registration advantage. But despite the campaign’s costly barrage of television commercials accusing Mr. Christie of cronyism, his disapproval rating is still only about half the governor’s.

That is why they began to grow excited this month, with the news that Karl Rove had spoken with Mr. Christie, as early as 2006 or 2007, about Mr. Christie’s interest in the governor’s office. The Hatch Act bars federal prosecutors from even testing the waters for a candidacy, and by Saturday, Mr. Corzine, speaking to liberal bloggers in Pittsburgh, was calling Mr. Christie a “lawbreaker.”

Some Democrats felt it was a stretch. But then, last Tuesday, another break: Mr. Christie came forward to acknowledge he had given a top aide in the prosecutor’s office a second mortgage to help her out of a financial jam, but failed to report it on his ethics filings and tax returns.

Full of outrage when announcing indictments, Mr. Christie was subdued but frank in owning and apologizing for his mistake. But he had to contend with questions about why his lapse — he had failed to report $420 in interest income on his taxes — would not have been worth prosecuting.

From Washington to Trenton to the governor’s adopted hometown, Hoboken, Mr. Corzine’s allies grabbed hold of the story as if it were a defibrillator.

Aides to Senator Robert Menendez put calls in to reporters pressing the attack. Representative Frank Pallone Jr. accused the United States attorney’s office — where the woman who received the loan from Mr. Christie is now second in command — of playing politics. The Corzine campaign filed a lawsuit seeking records of Mr. Christie’s communications with his old office.

Read More >>> Here


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Filed under Chris Christie, Congressman Frank Pallone, David Plouffe, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Monmouth County, President Obama, The New York Times, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Middletown Finally Applies For Menendez Energy Grant $$

During the first week of May, I posted two columns concerning letters written by local Middletown GOP supports and hacks that attempted to give credit to Mayor Pam BrightBill and Deputy Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger for having enough foresight to apply for and secure funds from an energy grant before any such energy grant program was announced federal authorities.

My posts,  Middletown GOP, Once Again Taking Credit Where None Is Due and Middletown GOP – Liars, Lairs Pants on Fire: Update On Energy Grant, went into great detail about how the Energy Efficiency Block Grant program was set up by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and then funded through President Obama’s economic stimulus package. 

The posts contain must listen to audio clips that prove the Mayor and Deputy Mayor had no idea about the grants and were just as surprised as anyone to hear of the townships good fortune.
As an update to those earlier posts I feel it necessary to point out as further proof that the Middletown GOP takes credit where none is due, by bringing to everyone attention that the township has just this week, gotten around to passing a resolution that would officially apply for the grant money, more than a month after first being told about it.   

Below is the resolution, that was voted on this past Monday, to apply for the $610,800 that was made available in March by Sen. Menendez. This goes to show that the GOP letter writers either are out of touch with what is happening in our town or they flat out lie to take credit for something they had nothing to do with. In either case, they are just showing the public that they are incapable as leaders, unless they are trying to lead the public off a cliff:

Resolution No. 09-160
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SUBMISSION OF
ENERGY EFFICIENCY & CONSERVATION BLOCK GRANT APPLICATION

WHEREAS, the US Department of Energy has announced that $610,800 in grant funds have
been made available to the Township of Middletown under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, which has been provided with funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; and

WHEREAS, the EECBG Program, authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the EnergyIndependence and Security Act of 2007 and signed into Public Law (PL 110-140) on December 19, 2007, will provide funds to the Township to develop and implement projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions; and.

WHEREAS, the EECBG Program will assist the Township to develop, promote, implement,
and manage energy efficiency and conservation projects and programs designed to reduce fossil fuel emissions, reduce total energy use, improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building, and other appropriate sectors; and create and retain jobs; and

WHEREAS, the application deadline for accessing $610,800 in grant funds from the EECBG
Program has been set by the US Department of Energy as June 25, 2009.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of
Middletown, in the County of Monmouth, New Jersey that the Mayor and other authorized
appropriate and responsible Township officials including but not limited to the Administrator, the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Planning and Community Development are authorized to submit an application to the US Department of Energy for grant funds under the EECBG Program, including all execution of all understandings, assurances and certifications contained therein, and to act as the authorized representatives of the Township of Middletown, and to provide such additional information as may be required.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Jason A. Greenspan, PP, AICP, Director of Planning and
Community Development is hereby designated as the authority responsible for applying for and receiving funding from the EECBG Program on behalf of the Township of Middletown, and is hereby authorized and directed to execute such assurances, certifications and other documentation as may be required in the EECBG Program application by the US Department of Energy.


The bottom line is is simple, Middletown residents need to be very leery of about what the see and hear from their GOP majority and it’s supporters because if you read it in print or happen to see their lips moving, they are probably lying. 

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Filed under Economic Stimulus Package, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Pamela Brightbill, President Obama, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Twittering on Memorial Day: Messages from Menendez and Pallone

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Frank Pallone took the time today to send the following Memorial Day messages out to their constituents via Twitter.

Each chose to use their 140 keystrokes to honor the sacrifices of our armed services men and women differently, Menendez with a message of thanks and Pallone with a quote from 

Shakespeare, each appropriate and poignant.  :

Senator MenendezMemorial Day, a day of reflection, remembrance and thanks. Thanks to those who have served and are serving, so that we might enjoy freedom.

Congressman Pallone“Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar


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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, Memorial Day, Twitter, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Middletown GOP – Liars, Lairs Pants on Fire: Update On Energy Grant

On Monday I posted about how the Middletown Republicans were once again trying to take credit for something that they did not do. I went into great detail and even posted an audio clip to explained how the Middletown GOP were taking credit for others work 

A short while before the Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting, which took place on March 26th, Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, received a phone call from a local reporter asking him what intentions the township had for the $610,000 windfall that Middletown was in line to receive from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program (a program created by Democratic U.S Senator Robert Menendez) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or more commonly know as President Obama’s stimulus package, to be used for township projects that would promote energy efficiency, such as the townships Green Initiatives.   
Mercantante was taken by surprise because he had no idea that the township even applied for such a grant. When he announced the townships good fortune to attendants of the meeting, Mayor Pam and Deputy Gerry were very quick to take credit for their proactive attempts to secure the grant.
Letters from local GOPer’s started to appear in publications praising the mayor and her underlings for a job well done. The problem with this however was that none of it was true.
The township never applied for the grant in advance because the program essentially did not exist until $3.2 billion was made available through the president’s stimulus package that was signed in February.     
To further prove what I am saying, all one needs to do is listen to this new audio clip from Monday nights Township Committee workshop meetingto her Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, says that the grant was only made available to the township and that the township still needs to a lot of work to apply for it or it would be lost.

 In conclusion allow me to say, Mercantante presented the next step in the energy grant from Washington to the committee at its workshop meeting on Monday night, which makes it very clear that the township or anyone associated with  the township never applied for the funds because Mercantante clearly  says that the next step is to submit the application.

This solidifies the fact that the GOP was caught in an outright lie and they should be held to it. There is no excuse for misleading the public. It is plainly clear that the Middletown GOP can not handle the basic needs of the people by taking credit for something that is clearly not true.

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Filed under Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Middeltown Township, Middletown Republicans, Tony Mercantante, Township Administrator, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Middletown GOP, Once Again Taking Where None Is Due.

Once again members of the Middletown GOP are trying to take credit for other peoples efforts. Mayor Brightbill, her buddy Gerry and other members of the ruling party in Middletown want to mislead the public into believing that they had something to do with a $610,000 windfall made available to the township through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program by writing “letters to the editor” squawking about how brilliant and insightful the Middletown Republicans are, which in reality is utter nonsense.

These letters are a clear fabrication and blatant attempt to deceive the public by deflecting attention away from the fact the Middletown Republicans are planning to raise the municipal tax rate for the 4th time in 4 years. This current rate increase, as it stands now of 9.2%, would bring the total rate increase to 25% during this 4-year period.

A letter written by GOP supporter Peter VanNortwick, which appeared in various local publications, congratulated Mayor Brightbill and Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger for securing a $610,000 U.S. Department of Energy grant even though they knew nothing about it. The Mayor and her deputy, admitted as much at the Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting that took place on March 26th.

When a subsequent letter writer of the democratic persuasion pointed out the real story behind the grant, that it was New Jersey’s very own Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez who created the EECBG program back in 2007 (The Program was authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and signed into Public Law (PL 110-140) on December 19, 2007. The program however remained unfunded until The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $3.2 billion for it) and that these funds were granted to over 60 towns, 10 counties and the state itself. The letter writer also added that the township didn’t apply for these funds in advance.

The writer then concluded, “This is typical of how the Republican Party has been operating for years. They will take credit for something that they had no idea about to make people think that they are doing a service for the public. It is too bad that they feel the need to hide behind such lies. I hope this author will think hard when trying to give credit to someone that does not deserve it.”

OUCH!

Not to be outdone, Monmouth County Republican Committeeman (and local GOP tool) Michael Vitkansas, wrote a reply in which he started off by disparaging democrats and then stated, “the township administrator had just received word that Middletown had gotten a $610,000 grant for money-saving energy programs in Middletown. The Township Committee was told about the award at that meeting. Director of Planning Jason Greenspan went on to explain how Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger and he had discussed the merits of applying for the grant back in 2008 and decided that they should give it a try.”

Mr. Vitkansas, in his partisan, republican zeal, unfortunately did not get the facts straight.

While Mr. Vitkansas was correct in stating that the township committee had just heard the good news from the Township Administrator about the grant, he failed to mention that the Administrator and the Director of Planning were totally unaware of the windfall until a reporter called questioning what the township had in mind for the grant, just before the neighborhood meeting started.

As it also turns out, his statement also turns out to be false because the Director of Planning, Jason Greenspan, could not have talked about this particular grant before because the EECBG program, even though it was created in 2007, is new and was never funded before this year. Jason Greenspan might have applied for something, but it could not have been for this program. As Gerry Scharfenberger mentioned at the meeting, they apply for so many grants, it is hard to say what they apply for. They just roll the dice by applying for everything, as they should, and hope something comes their way.

If you don’t believe what I have written then listen for yourself, the following audio clip is from the March 26th Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting. You can clearly hear Mayor Pam and Deputy Gerry saying it themselves.

Read the Robert Menendez press release announcing the funding >>> Here

Read the Rush Holt press release announcing the amount Monmouth County and Middletown will be receiving >>> Here

To read about the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program 

click >>> Here

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Filed under Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting, Gerry Scharfenberger, Michael Vitkansas, Middletown GOP, Pamela Brightbill, Peter VanNortwick, republican supporters, Rush Holt, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Menendez:The Democrats Welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter Into Our Party

I received the following email message from Sen Bob Menendez a short while ago welcoming Pennsylivania’s Arlen Specter into the Democratic party:

“The Democrats welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter into our party today. He gave one simple reason for switching parties:

“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

The extreme right wing lost the American people in 2006 and 2008. Now, they’ve lost their hold on another moderate voice in the United States Senate.

This one’s a game-changer. Specter’s move immediately improves the prospects of President Obama’s bold change agenda.

But make no mistake – Republicans still have the votes they need to mount a filibuster. Sen. Specter’s decision will make our opponents even more desperate.

Norm Coleman will dig in his heels and fight even harder to deny us that filibuster-proof 60th seat.

Even when Coleman finally, finally has no more appeals and is forced to concede defeat, the Republicans will be plotting day and night to defeat our candidates in 2010. They know that beating just one Democratic incumbent would let them filibuster, delay, and deny the President’s agenda.

Today is a great day for all of us who want to help bring real, lasting change to this country….”  

Note to Sen. Specter: I applauded your decision to join the Democratic Party, as the Republican party has shown there is no place in its ranks for  a “moderate” Republican.  As the nation leans more towards the left, neocon-conservative Republicans have taken control of  all that is left of  the party of Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan.

While the Republican party has dwindled and became known as the “Party Of No”, the Democratic ranks have swelled. Democats are the leaders of change that have and will, see this country through the current economic crisis and lead the way in the fight for healthcare, social security and tax reform.

Welcome,
MM      

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Filed under Democratic Party, healthcare reform, Party of No, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Turning Back The Clock: Christie Opens Questionable Investigation Of Menendez And Ethics Are First Challanged


Lets turn back the clock to the summer of 2006, Democratic Candidate for U.S Senate, Congressman Bob Menendez, is the front runner over Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr.

61 days before an election U.S Attorney, Chris Christie, appointed by President George Bush after his family makes  large contributions to the President and to the New Jersey’s Republican Party, decides to take an interest.

Christie files subpoenas  seeking documents related to a rental deal Menendez had with a nonprofit agency in Hudson County from 1994 to 2003, and not coincidentally, leaks to the press followed immediately. 

“There are serious questions about the timing of this inquiry and I will not allow an orchestrated concerted effort to smear and personally destroy those who oppose this administration.” Menedez said at the time.

Democrats from all over the state rallied behind Congressman Menendez in a show of support. Middletown’s Democratic leader, Joe Caliendo, went as far as issuing a press release, which questioned the timing and motivations behind the Christie subpoenas.

At the time, Caliendo was one of the few people willing to address the questionable political donations made by the Christie family to various GOP organizations, which lead to Chris Christie’s appointment as  U.S Attorney.  

In his press release dated September 18, 2006, Caliendo also questions why Christie wouldn’t investigate his old college buddy Joe Kyrillos and his shady dealings with John Lynch and Jack Morris over the Matawan-Aberdeen Train Station restoration:

CALIENDO CALLS INVESTIGATION POLITICALLY MOTIVATED, QUESTIONS TIMING, MOTIVATION OF CHRISTIE CONTRIBUTIONS

Middletown Democrat Chairman Joe Caliendo has called the investigation into Sen. Bob Menendez highly suspect.

“We have a U.S. Attorney who is playing politics for a party he owes deeply,” Caliendo said. “At the end of the day, Christie is a political appointee.”

Caliendo noted that it is difficult for the U.S. Attorney to claim objectivity in investigating a Democrat candidate in an important national race, especially when the money trail between Christie and the state Republican Party are seen in the broad light of day.

“Look, the timing of the contributions by Chris Christie and his family are pretty suspect, if you ask me,” Caliendo said. “First, you’ve got the fact that Todd Christie, the U.S. Attorney’s brother, has helped raise over $200,000 for the Bush White House. But you’ve also got to look at what’s been paid to the state Republicans.”

Caliendo said election reports show that before 2001 Christopher J. Christie and his family members donated a total of $800 to the New Jersey Republican Committee.

But in the months before September 2001, when Christie learned of his appointment, Christie donated $10,000 to the party and his brother Todd’s household contributed $64,000 to the party. Todd Christie went on to contribute $70,000 to the party in three lump sums from 2002 to 2004.

“Look, you don’t just jump from giving $800 in a lifetime to giving $74,000 in less than a month without strings being attached to both sides,” Caliendo noted. “That’s just not how politics works and certainly not how politics works in New Jersey.”

Caliendo noted that while the U.S. Attorney launched a curiously timed investigation into Menendez’s finances, Christie has ignored potential wrongdoing by the state’s GOP brass.

“Christopher J. Christie will not investigate the dealings of the Matawan-Aberdeen Train Station, in which over $50,000 passed between John Lynch business partner Jack Morris and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ campaign accounts,” Caliendo said. “Christie will not investigate the fact that Sen. Kyrillos may have used some strangely times campaign contributions to influence the Keyport Republican Party (including two councilmen arrested for corruption) to help his employer Woodmont Properties develop condos on waterfront property in the town, which he’s supposed to represent.”

Caliendo said Christie would not investigate these dealings by Kyrillos because of his very relationship to Kyrillos and the Middletown Republicans.

“Look, Kyrillos is this same man who swore Chris Christie in as a Morris County Freeholder, the same man who Todd Christie called a ‘family friend’ and the same man who was taking the helm of the state GOP just as the Christies dropped $74,000 a couple months before the U.S. Attorney learned of his appointment.”

Caliendo concluded by saying, “Of course Christie is going to investigate Menendez. Menendez isn’t George W. Bush’s candidate, and Menendez wasn’t taking the helm of the state GOP when the Christies were paying tribute to that organization’s coffers.”

Caliendo characterized the State Republican Party as being both “corrupt and vindictive” and may come after him in some political way because of this. “But the truth is just that and I do have proof about every assertion that I am making,” he said.

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Filed under Chris Christie, investigation, Joe Kyrillos, Middletown Republicans, US Attorney, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Why does Middletown Spend Money on Lobbyists When our Federal Elected Officials Are Bringing Home the Bacon?

The way the Middletown Township Committee spends our money is amazing. In an effort to obtain some federal funds they have, once again, hired a lobbyist for $65K to go to Washington and see if they can come back with something to show for their efforts. Hopefully, our town officials have not used our tax monies for naught.

Recently, our own Senator Menendez has shown that he is doing his part by obtaining some funds to the tune of over $610K for New Jersey and Middletown in particular to enact some energy saving programs.
Congressman Frank Pallone is working to ensure that three specific projects that directly affect Middletown are funded. These projects are for hurricane and storm damage reduction in Pt. Monmouth, dredging of the channel to the Leonardo marina and the dredging of the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers. The projects total over $13.5M. Senator Lautenburg is standing behind Congressman Pallone, in the Senate, to support these projects.
This is the reason why we elect representatives like Senator Menendez and Congressman Pallone to office. It is a shame that we cannot get the same results from our representatives at the state level. Just because they are not in the controlling majority does not mean that they can’t get anything done in Trenton. When our elected officials refuse to work across party lines there will be no positive results for those they represent. The residents of Middletown need leaders that will work for everyone, not just those that elected them. It is time to recognize those that are finally getting results for their efforts.

Dora Crisafulli
Middletown, NJ

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Filed under Frank Pallone, lobbists, Middletown, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, US. Sen. Robert Menendez, Washington

Say it Aint So Bob: Menendez Blocks Obama’s Scientists Over Unrelated, ‘Deeply Offensive’ Cuba Policies

From Think Progress’s Wonk Room

Obama’s climate scientists are collateral damage in an unrelated fight over Cuba policy with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Menendez is responsible for an anonymous hold on the nominations of Dr. John Holdren and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, both world-renowned experts on climate change and the physical sciences. Holdren and Lubchenco “sailed through” their confirmation hearing on February 12. But as the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reports, Menendez has anonymously blocked their full Senate confirmation “as leverage to get Senate leaders’ attention for a matter related to Cuba rather than questioning the nominees’ credentials.” Menendez, a Cuban American, took to the Senate floor last night “to deliver a withering denunciation” of proposed changes to U.S.-Cuban relations included in the budget omnibus:

We should evaluate how to encourage the regime to allow a legitimate opening – not in terms of cell phones and hotel rooms that Cubans can’t afford, but in terms of the right to organize, the right to think and speak what they believe. However, what we are doing with this Omnibus bill, Mr. President, is far from evaluation, and the process by which these changes have been forced upon this body is so deeply offensive to me, and so deeply undemocratic, that it puts the Omnibus appropriations package in jeopardy, in spite of all the other tremendously important funding that this bill would provide.

Menendez points to a memo prepared by the staff of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) as recommending a policy change that Menendez worries could “rescue the regime by improving its economic fortunes,” namely giving Cuba “financial credit to purchase agricultural products from the U.S.”

These picks have in fact languished for months, having been put forward by President Obama on December 20. Lubchenco’s nomination to be administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has been stalled in part by the turmoil over finding a Secretary of Commerce, whose department includes NOAA. NOAA career staff are gamely working to draft a spending plan for the $830 million in the recently passed recovery act, and energy adviser Carol Browner is managing climate policy from the White House with a skeleton staff. But the Office of Science and Technology Policy is a key White House office, and its director Holdren is meant to be the top science adviser to the president. The “wise counsel” of Holdren and Lubchenco is irreplaceable, especially given the scope of the challenges our nation faces.

Menendez spokesman Afshin Mohamadi declined to comment on the putatively anonymous hold. “He takes a back seat to no one on the environment,” Mohamadi discussed by telephone, saying the senator’s “record best reflects his feelings on the urgency of combatting climate change.” When asked if Sen. Menendez hopes to have climate legislation on President Obama’s desk before the end of 2009, Mohamadi explained that Sen. Menendez believes it “would be helpful to have it in place going into the December international climate change conference in Copenhagen.”

Each day that Dr. Holdren and Dr. Lubchenco have to sit on the sidelines makes that goal more unlikely.

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Filed under Climate change, climate scientists, Cuban-Americans, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Dr. John Holdren, NOAA, President Obama, U.S.-Cuban relations, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

SEN. MENENDEZ URGES OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO INVESTIGATE DEFERRED BONUSES BY BANKS RECEIVING TAXPAYER MONEY

Press Release – Economic recovery plan provision banning bonuses for TARP recipients may also apply to deferred bonuses

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WASHINGTON – In order to ensure that taxpayer money is not being used to pay Wall Street bonuses, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Banking Committee, today urged the Obama administration to examine recent reports of bank executive bonus deferrals and other creatively-titled reward payments. In his letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Senator Menendez is specifically interested in determining if these bonuses are legal – the economic recovery package included language prohibiting bonuses, which seemingly also prohibits deferred bonuses and other similar payments.

In his letter, Senator Menendez wrote: “The intent of Congress on behalf of the American people was to use TARP funds to free up lending, prevent foreclosures, and stimulate the economy. If used correctly, they will help students pay for college, families get auto loans, homeowners modify mortgages, and small businesses stay open and keep their employees on the payroll. On the other hand, if the money is used for the personal comfort and financial well-being of executives, then this rescue package will be transformed into merely a give-away to banks, to the detriment of taxpayers.”

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Filed under deferred bonuses, Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, press release, TARP, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, US. Sen. Robert Menendez, Wall St. bonuses