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Delaware, Montgomery, Chester Counties, PA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter

Economic Security

By Joe Sestak

Candidate for US Representative; District 7

This information is provided by the candidate
Congressman Joe Sestak's Economic Security Accomplishments/Future Proposals

The long-term prosperity of our economy must be our number one priority simply because it makes possible what we most want: to raise our children well, to buy a home, to pay for college, to save for retirement, and to live a healthy life within a secure nation.

That is why I fought in Congress to be on the Small Business Committee --- where I was selected Vice-Chairman by my fellow Congressmen --- as well as became a member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.

My interest in strengthening the education, health and labor security of our community's families also led me to become a member of the Education and Labor Committee and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions and Subcommittee on Early Child, Elementary and Secondary Education.

Since my election in 2006, I have been working hard in the District and through the above Committees in Washington DC -- in a bipartisan fashion -- on a three-prong approach to improving our economic security by:

  • Strengthening our small business environment, which create 70% of the jobs in this country;
  • Enhancing educational opportunities and job skills to remain competitive with the rest of the world; and,
  • Investing in the research and development of new technologies which will make our District, Pennsylvania, and the nation, more competitive in the global economy.


With over 70% of the jobs in the United States created by small businesses, strengthening Pennsylvania's small businesses in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties is so important. It translates into more quality jobs in our community, the Commonwealth, and the nation.

Since being sworn into office in January 2007, I have made growth of small businesses one of my top priorities. As Vice-Chairman of the Small Business Committee, I have hosted Eleven Economic Summits in our District, as well as held numerous meetings with small business owners/economic leaders throughout our District in order to identify ways to help facilitate business growth.

These Economic Development Summits included:

  • Summit on Federal Government Business Procurement with Defense Appropriations Chairman John Murtha and Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton that brought more than 420 businessmen and women together with 40 large businesses and contracting officers from over 15 federal and state government agencies. Representatives of the exhibiting businesses and agencies served as panelists in a series of training sessions held throughout the day. Working sessions at various booths set up that day also resulted in several immediate contracts, as well as laid the groundwork for future contracts and jobs.
  • Summit on Contracting with and Obtaining Business from Boeing (the world's leading aerospace company and largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined, which is one of the larger employers in the region). This Summit was the first ever forum held for over 100 manufacturers in the District to bid on jobs at Boeing before such jobs are contracted outside the region. Prior to this summit, Boeing had historically out-sourced such jobs to southern states rather than giving local businesses an opportunity to compete for such business. Small Business Summit with Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez on the challenges facing women small business owners and working women.
  • Summit on Economic Security with regional business leaders, economists, venture capitalists to discuss business development and revitalizations strategies.
  • Summit on Economic Growth and Resources held with regional businesses and administrators from Federal, State, and Local Agencies offering services to small businesses.
  • Summit on Business Development with regional business and educational leaders.
  • Summit on Workforce Development with regional artisans, craftsmen and skilled labor.
  • Summit on Obtaining Grants from private and public foundations.
  • First Responders' Grant Seminar -- part of an on-going effort to inform constituents about opportunities to seek funding at both the state and federal level. Job Readiness Seminar for Recent College Graduates.
  • Women's Business Forum Co-hosted by the Small Business Administration featuring a panel discussion among business owners, entrepreneurs, and employees to discuss challenges facing women-owned businesses as well as opportunities that exist. Followed by a Service Fair featuring representatives from organizations that offer aid to women-owned small businesses.

As Vice-Chairman of the Small Business Committee -- based upon discussions at these Summits and ideas offered by small business owners in the 7th District -- I was able to craft legislation and be a leading advocate in voting on the following economic legislation to assist our regional businesses:

  • Drafted and passed an amendment which stops U.S. government agencies from unfairly bundling small contracts into "mega-contracts," a practice that makes it harder for small businesses to compete due to the size of the bundled contracts. Currently, our community's small businesses only receive 6.7 percent of all federal contacting dollars despite the federal government's goal of 23 percent.
  • Drafted and passed an amendment that requires the Department of Defense to conduct a search for small businesses for contracts over $1 million.
  • Drafted and passed the SBA Trade Programs Act to provide trade assistance to small businesses.
  • Drafted and passed the SBA Entrepreneurial Development Programs Act to provide grants and entrepreneurial tools to small business owners;
  • Voted for investing in small business and economic development as part of the FY 2008 Financial Services-General Government Appropriations, which contained provisions to spur job creation and economic growth, including restoring President's Bush's cuts in small business loans, and investing in greater efforts to expand access to capital and financial services.
  • Voted to increase the Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act, which made critical changes to the Small Business Administration's ("SBA") federal contracting programs which will now open up new opportunities for small businesses, including veteran- and minority-owned firms.
  • Voted for the Small Business Lending Improvements Act, which provided small businesses with tools to encourage entrepreneurial innovation, including making 7(a) loans more economical. Although it is the goal of the federal government to have 23 percent of its contracts go to small businesses, only 6.7 percent of government contracts in our District had historically gone to small businesses.
  • Voted to expand investment in small businesses. The Small Business Investment Expansion Act reformed SBA's programs to assist small business owners with obtaining investment capital necessary to start or grow their operations and improves access to venture capital and angel investments for these entrepreneurs.
  • Voted to ensure fairness in small business contracting by supporting the Small Business Fairness in Contracting Act, which strengthens small business by ensuring an increased share of federal contracts going to small businesses and limiting the ability of federal agencies to bundle smaller projects into larger contracts.
  • Co-sponsored the Women's Business Programs Act to provide financial assistance to women-owned businesses.

I also joined a bi-partisan effort on behalf of the President, the House of Representatives, and the Treasury Department to pass the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008 ("Stimulus Bill"). Provisions of this Stimulus Bill assist job creation and small businesses by allowing businesses to write off an additional 50 percent for investment purchases in 2008, while doubling the amount a small business can write off their taxes for capital investments made in 2008 from $125,000 to $250,000.

Lastly, I have created a Labor Advisory Committee that meets regularly to discuss and address the economic, job training, and healthcare challenges facing the more than 300,000 working men and women in the District.


Making education affordable for young people, and enhancing access to job skill training for those already in the workforce, is essential for members of our community to compete for jobs in Pennsylvania. Since taking office, I have held five, all-day Educational Summits, and various Educational Roundtables in the District, as well as led numerous meetings with business leaders as well as regional educational leaders from our from early childhood, secondary education, vocational and college and university institutions.

These Educational Summits, and Roundtables, included:

  • Education Summit with Chairman George Miller of the *Education and Labor Committee to discuss Early Childhood through Secondary Education;
  • Educational Summit with Higher Education Subcommittee Chairman Rubén Hinojosa to discuss advanced workforce training;
  • Educational Summit with Early Childhood and Secondary *Education Subcommittee Chairman David Kildee to address No Child Left Behind;
  • College Cost Affordability Summit that brought together educators, college officials, financial aid experts, and parents to address the cost of higher education;
  • Workforce Development Summit held with our District's secondary and post-secondary schools and regional business leaders to ensure that by facilitating and partnering these discussions our students are equipped with the skills that business seeks;
  • Head Start and Early Childhood Education Roundtable involving discussions on pre-school programs, including *Head Start and other government initiatives; and, Teachers' Roundtable discussing improved teaching methods.

From my position as a member of the Education and Labor Committee, based upon discussions at those Educational Summits and the ideas offered by our region's educational and business leaders, I was able to craft legislation and be a leading advocate in voting on the following educational legislation to assist our regional businesses:

  • Drafted legislation that expanded the list of occupations defined as "areas of national need" to include physical therapy; students who receive a graduate degree in physical therapy can receive loan forgiveness of up to $10,000 over a five year period. According to the American Hospital Association, therapists represent the occupation for which the greatest percentage of vacancies exists in our hospitals across our nation, at 11.4%. Demand for physical therapists' employment is projected to grow 27% within eight years, even as 58% of our hospitals were reporting in 2006 that therapist recruitment is more difficult than the year before. Compounding this challenge of our national need for physical therapists exceeding our supply are our already 31,000 servicemen and women who have returned home to recover from wounds sustained in service in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Physical therapists will therefore continue to play an integral role in rehabilitating our nation's veterans as they cope with injuries from the battlefield.
  • Drafted and passed legislation regarding "Student College Credit Transfer Agreements", known as articulation agreements - agreements between two or more institutions to transfer courses. The amendment encourages states and public institutions of higher education to develop management systems for course equivalency, transfer of credit, and articulation. It also addresses lack of transparency among colleges, specifically regarding the transfer of academic credit between postsecondary institutions. Over 40% of students attending college or university transfer at least once before they complete their undergraduate degree. Transfer students take about 10 more credits and 3 more months to complete their baccalaureate degree than non-transfer graduates. It is estimated that the loss of credit among transfer students costs over $5.2 billion per year.
  • Voted To Make College More Affordable, by Expanding Student Aid by $19 Billion. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, contains the single largest investment in college financial assistance since the 1944 GI Bill, including increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $1,090 -- to $5,400 -- by 2012, cutting interest rates in half on need-based college loans, and providing loan repayment for those who enter public service careers;
  • Voted to Expand College Access. The College Opportunity and Affordability Act, which builds on the 2007 law with additional steps to make college more accessible and affordable, including giving colleges incentives to rein in tuition increases, restoring integrity to student loan programs, making textbook costs more manageable, and simplifying the federal student aid application process;
  • Voted to Improve Head Start. The Improving Head Start Act, which expands and improves the successful Head Start early childhood education program, and includes strong accountability measures to ensure programs are succeeding; and,
  • Voted to Assist Part-Time Students. The Part-Time Student Assistance Act, which incorporated into House-passed Higher Education Act: provides access and assistance to increase college attendance and completion by part-time students; increases the earnings exempt from student aid need determinations for academic year 2007-2008 by exempting earnings of up to: (1) $9,000 for dependent students; and (2) $12,000 for independent students with no dependents (other than spouse); expands a program which provides grants to institutions of higher education for child care assistance for low-income students; and, directs the Secretary of Education to establish a year-round Pell grant pilot program.

Lastly, I created a Higher Education, Business and Workforce Development Advisory Committee that meets regularly to discuss and implement skill enhancement seminars and job fairs at schools, as well as set-up business mentorship programs for students.


The formula for creating and retaining jobs in the 7th District must also involve a plan for the future. That is why I am so supportive of efforts to make the 7th District, Pennsylvania and the nation a source of innovative research and development into fields which will create jobs in the coming years.

It is for this reason I voted for the America COMPETES Act, which authorized $43.3 billion to increase the budgets of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Department of Education (DOE).

I also cosponsored HR 2138, the Investment in America Act of 2007, which extends the research credit and strengthens the alternative simplified credit for qualified research expenses by increasing from 12 to 20% the rate of the alternative simplified tax credit for research expenses; making permanent the tax credit for increasing research activities; and repealing the alternative incremental tax credit for research expenses.

In addition, I supported passage of:

  • The Sowing the Seeds through Science and Engineering Research Act, which increases support for long-term scientific research and focuses on high-risk, high-reward early stage research;
  • The Technology Innovation Act, which creates the Technology Innovation Program, to provide funds to small high-tech firms, and reauthorizes the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which stimulates investments in innovative technologies by small manufacturers;
  • H.R. 1068, which helps strengthen U.S. leadership in high-performance computing and provides support for cutting-edge research to drive information technology into the future; and,
  • FY 2008 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations, which makes major investments in U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness, including Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and the Advanced Technology Program, and in scientific research, putting the NSF on track to double in funding over the next 10 years.


As I look forward to continuing to represent the 7th District here and in Washington, I believe a comprehensive economic development effort/plan is needed to ensure that that our District can maintain its excellence. To do so, we need to formalize a linkage among universities, community colleges, vocational schools, and industry/business. Overall, we need a technology partnership among academia, private business/industry, venture community/private "angel networks", communities, and government for capital access and commitment. Therefore, I have been working on a five-step plan to accomplish this:

STEP 1: IMPROVING CAPITAL ACCESS AND COMMITMENTS TO SMALL BUSINESSES AND VALUE ADDED INDUSTRIES -- For every dollar invested in entrepreneurial development programs, the economy receives nearly three dollars in return.

One of the ways to improve access to capital is to adjust lending formulas in such a way so that incentives are created for banks to promote distressed companies. The venture community must also participate, by creating private-government investment vehicles that meet required performance goals. We also need to revitalize "private angel networks" by creating tax incentives for risk-associated losses and for capital gains.

As Vice Chairman of the Small Business Committee I am committed to all efforts that, in a fiscally responsible manner, aid local entrepreneurs who are the backbone of our economy. That is why on September 27, 2007 I worked on and voted for H.R. 3567, the Small Business Improvements Act of 2007 (H.R. 3567).

This legislation:

  • Will make enhancements to the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) and New Markets Venture Capital (NMVC), two programs designed to aid small businesses, particularly those owned by women, minorities, and in low-income areas;
  • Creates a new Angel Investment Program to help infuse entrepreneurs with this crucial source of financing. Since 2001, Delaware County has lost 762 businesses, and since 1990, over 30 percent of its manufacturing establishments have closed their doors. These are disturbing trends that demonstrate the importance and need to provide small businesses with greater access to capital so that commerce can flourish, businesses can expand and create more jobs, and improve the quality of life for all. The Small Business Investment Expansion Act will help address capital needs for small businesses by increasing the amount of debt carried or made available to eligible companies and enhancing access to angel networks;
  • Enhances small business investments companies by increasing the maximum amount of debt an eligible company can carry or made available to any qualified company to either 300% of a company's private capital or $150 million. For women-owned and socially-disadvantaged small businesses the limit would be increased to $175 million and $250 million, respectively;
  • Enhances the New Markets Venture Capital (NMVC) program which supplies equity capital to venture capital firms and entrepreneurial expertise to small businesses that serve in economically distressed communities;
  • Requires the SBA to actively engage in activities to expand the NMVC program. At least one company from each of the agency's geographic regions would be selected as part of its efforts to expand the program. The legislation also reduces capital requirements for NMVC companies primarily engaged in investment in small manufacturing firms to $3 million. The program's capital requirement for all companies is currently $5 million;
  • Establishes a new Office of Angel Investment within the investment division of the SBA, to be headed by a director who would be responsible for administering two programs, the Angel Finance Program and Federal Angel Network. The Angel Finance Program would function as a public-private partnership between the agency and privately organized "angel groups" that would consist of ten or more accredited investors who are licensed by the SBA specifically for the purpose of making investments to early stage small businesses.
  • In exchange for complying with the program's licensing and investment requirements, the legislation provides angel groups with up to $2 million in financing from the SBA. Financing that groups receive would be invested in local small businesses with an equal or greater amount of private investment capital raised by individual groups. As the groups repay the financing from the SBA, the agency would deposit the repaid funds in an Angel Investment Fund, which would serve as a revolving source of leverage financing for the program to operate without regard to fiscal year limitations. The bill authorizes $10 million in FY 2008 and a total of $50 million the following three years for the program before it is self sufficient; and,
  • Finally, the bill requires SBA to make grants to entities that develop new or existing angel groups or to increase awareness and education about angel investing. Grant recipients would include state or local governments, nonprofit organizations, Small Business Development Centers, and Women Business Centers. Eligible entities would be required to raise matching funds equal to half of the grant amount.

STEP 2: HARNESSING PRIVATE PUBLIC ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIPS -- capitalizing on the presence of twelve colleges and universities and over 30,000 college and university students in the 7th District.

I have held numerous meeting with regional business leaders and representatives from our District's outstanding colleges and universities regarding the creation of public-private partnerships. By investing in these private-public-academic partnerships, we can turn scientific research - and, particularly, research in the life sciences and other high-tech clusters+ into innovation, which will draw new high-technology jobs to the area. This strategy can also provide internship opportunities to college and university students, which helps guarantee that students undergo a seamless transition from student to permanent employee, as we drive technology-based economic development within the district.

STEP 3: INVESTING IN LOCAL, REGIONAL AND STATE DEVELOPMENT -- leads to local jobs, and can drive state technology development, which in turn spurs economic growth in the region.

That is why I included funding for many essential projects in the 7th Congressional District as a part of the fiscal year 2008 Omnibus Spending Bill. From aiding in the construction of a new regional burn treatment center to providing financing for a community Weed & Seed program, these funds help to create and sustain projects that will improve the lives of 7th District constituents and strengthen our communities.

Some of the federal funds I asked for on behalf of the District's needs and goals (and based on the 5 pillars of our national security -- economic, education, health, defense, energy/environmental), included the following organizations:

Economic Security:

  • Delaware County Community College Delaware County Community College will use the obtained funds to launch a Small Business Center to support students, aspiring entrepreneurs, and existing small business owners. The Small Business Center will offer educational programs and services that are accessible, comprehensive, community-centered and flexible to underserved communities such as minorities, women, and new immigrants.
  • Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Foundation the Community Partnership for Job Readiness Program, administered by the Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber, will use the obtained funds to provide workforce development services in the municipalities of Trainer, Marcus Hook and Upper Darby. This project will coordinate technical training for residents, develop a community infrastructure to communicate those services, and prepare residents to meet the employment needs of area businesses and industries in the near future.

Education Security:

  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania will use the obtained funds to improve the infrastructure and capacity of the institution in order to better prepare underrepresented minorities in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. A new science facility will increase in the number of underrepresented minorities in the STEM disciplines who can compete in a global workplace.
  • Widener University, the Early Childhood Engagement Program will use the obtained funds to improve access to and quality of programs that service 3-4 year old children. Specifically, it creates a strategic plan between the Chester Upland School District and Widener University to establish a rigorous plan for delivering a critical level of public and private resources that will ensure children in the Chester community are ready to learn when they enter school.
  • The Delaware County Community College's Science, Engineering, and Technology Complex will use the obtained funds to consolidate and upgrade their science, engineering, and technology facilities into one cutting-edge complex. The complex will include a 100,000 square foot four-story building for modern science laboratories that permits a variety of instructional modalities that will foster cross-discipline activities and student-faculty interaction.

Health Security:

  • Upper Darby Township Operation Weed and Seed Incorporated - Center for Family Safety - CFS will use the obtained funds to provide education and support services for families, in particular women and children who have been victims of domestic violence. Among the services offered through this program include temporary shelter, language assistance, and legal services. This project will assist victims through job training programs, assistance to first-time home buyers, and English as a Second language programs.
  • Crozer-Chester Medical Center will use the obtained funds towards the construction of a New Regional Burn Treatment Center. The existing burn center, built in 1973, is the largest burn center in the region, caring for more burn patients than any other burn center in the Northeast Corridor. This project will more than double the size of the existing burn center, improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, increase bioterrorism preparedness, and facilitate response to large-scale mass casualty events.

Defense/Homeland Security:

  • Gestalt, LLC will use its obtained funding regarding Distributed Mission Interoperability Toolkit (DMIT), a suite of tools that enables an enterprise architecture for on-demand, trusted, interoperability among and between mission-oriented C4I systems based on lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom. This funding will allow DMIT to be extended to Joint and coalition requirements, as well as address current strategic weaknesses in Air Force AOC management years ahead of current schedules.
  • Piasecki Aircraft Corp will use its obtained funding for further research and development by the Piasecki Aircraft Corp for the Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller Compound Helicopter technology. The VTDP technology shows promise to increase the speed and extend the range of helicopter capacities.
  • Rajant Corporation, in conjunction with CECOM/CERDEC, has developed a Portable Wireless Digital Broadband System that has distinctive and broad applications for the military. The obtained funding will be used to further improve mobility, range, bandwidth and portability of this portable wireless digital broadband system. Development in these areas will focus on size reduction, improved packaging, lower power consumption, improved radio and antenna performance, enhanced security key management, and other factors improving the design of the mobile/portable devices.
  • Lithchem with the obtained funding will work with Lockheed-Martin to develop and manufacture an advanced lithium battery system for the Multiple Kill Vehicle as a first application and demonstration of this major improvement in reserve batteries for the Missile Defense Agency. This dramatically improved LithChem reserve battery will add significant performance improvement for current and future US guided missile systems, rockets, and smart munitions.
  • Silicone Power Corporation will use the obtained funding to further develop advanced Lightweight Silicon Switch (LSS) technology for use in a mobile electromagnetic gun system (EMGun). The goal of the effort is to prototype an enhanced 125-millimeter switch based on LSS technology and perform a preliminary design of a 150-millimeter LSS switch that would achieve the established performance requirements for the Army's target EM Gun system.
  • PolyMedix will use the obtained funding to develop antimicrobial drugs expected to be effective against a wide range of bacterial agents and pathogens that have been bio-engineered to resist existing antibiotics. The requirement relates to the enhanced degree of readiness against bio-warfare and bio-terrorism which has been made a priority in all branches of the military.
  • Lockheed Martin produces the Tomahawk Weapons Control System which provides the launch capability for surface and submarine platforms. It interfaces with external systems for command and control, situational awareness and to obtain required data to initialize the Tomahawk cruise missile before launch. Lockheed Martin will use the obtained funding for continued development of TTWCS capabilities
  • Clear Align will use the obtained funding to start development of a low-cost Laser Module Assembly for the Navy's Acoustic Sensors. The development this technology would further reduce submarine costs and improve performance for Navy platforms.
  • Dragonfly Pictures will use the obtained funding to deliver two DP-5X unmanned rotorcraft helicopters to the Army Research Lab (ARL). The Army Research Lab has requested a number of DP-5X aircraft to test advanced blade, engine, weapon, and tail boom technologies that it has developed for manned and unmanned rotorcraft. SAP America will use the obtained funds to develop Advanced Composite Armor for force protection.
  • Chester County District Attorney's Office Southeast Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Credentialing Initiative will use the obtained funds to allow participating agencies to credential their personnel and deploy mobile credentialing units, ID Verification units, and smart-incident response management systems to every law enforcement agency in Chester County for law enforcement patrol programs and for criminal investigation strategies.
  • Delaware County Community College Delaware Country Community College will use the obtained funds to expand its Institute for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness throughout the greater Philadelphia region. The Institute offers courses, workshops, and seminars on law enforcement, medical emergency services, and other public safety topics to police officers, firefighters, emergency medical professionals and school district administrators that will enable responders to work effectively together.
  • Ridley Park Borough's Police Department is trained in a drug abuse prevention program targeted at children called "Heroin Alert." The obtained funding will enable the Ridley Park Police Department to expand their efforts to include students in the 7th and 8th grades.

Environmental and Energy Security:

  • Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association will use the obtained funding to address major traffic and transportation problems in the US 422 Schuylkill River Crossing area. The RCC plans several actions to achieve their goal: (1) widen US 422 to three lanes (four over Schuylkill River) to accommodate over 100,000 daily commuters by 2030; (2) modify PA 23 Interchange, the primary access to Valley Forge Park; and (3) complete the PA 363 Interchange, currently allowing for access to US 422 East and from US 422 West only. Upper Darby Township Market Street Gateway Project *Delaware County will use its obtained funding to construct a 310 space public parking garage that will support SEPTA's 69th Street Terminal, surrounding retail merchants and an adjacent 60,000 square foot office building. A new garage for the businesses and commuters will promote Upper Darby Township's redevelopment efforts.
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will use the obtained funds on a project that will include the engineering and construction of a multi-modal transportation center in Paoli, Chester County. The new facility will be located on SEPTA's R5 Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail line west of the existing station. The existing Paoli Station is one of the most utilized SEPTA passenger facilities outside of Center City Philadelphia with average daily ridership of 2800 passengers. This station complex will be reconstructed to address the needs of the ever-increasing number of bus and train customers using this facility.
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will use the obtained funds on a project to purchase 100, 40 foot, low floor alternative fuel hybrid (diesel/electric) powered buses. This will greatly improve air quality in the areas where the busses are used. They use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel combined with electric propulsion systems. These buses will be operated throughout the five county SEPTA service area: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. Borough of Bridgeport will use the obtained funds for a project for the separation of combined sewers in a portion of the Borough of Bridgeport to address the requirements of the Federal Combined Sewer Overflow Commission.

STEP 4: CREATING ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGES THAT ASSIST BUSINESSES -- one of the quickest ways to bolster employment, and in the case of manufacturing, it can provide the highest returns on capital investment. This creates a multiplier of 6.5 to 1 in the supply chain, enhancing the local tax base.

That is why I am proud that the Economic Stimulus Package that we passed into law this past spring, provided tax incentives to small businesses to make new investments, which will help to create more jobs here at home. Provisions in the economic stimulus bill will allow firms to write off an additional 50 percent for investment purchases in 2008, while doubling the amount a small business can write off their taxes for capital investments made in 2008 from $125,000 to $250,000.

STEP 5: RECLAIMING BROWNFIELD/SHUTTERED SITES AS STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESS VENTURES - at same time, working towards "walkable urbanity" in the "downtown" areas of our suburbs, particularly in the "inner" suburbs.

To forge healthy private-public partnerships that can stimulate these areas, we need to capture a vision with a strategic plan for each area; one of the keys to this process is the establishment of Business Improvement Districts and other non-profit agencies, often by a "catalytic developer." An entertainment district of restaurants, movies, etc. is central to attracting a rental housing market in renovated/new construction sites. This then creates a "for-sale" housing market while, at the same time, developing a local-services retail strategy - which leads to the re-creation of a strong commercial rental market.

That said, you may like to know what I am doing on a Federal level to clean up the hazardous sites of our community, Pennsylvania and nation. Superfund is the federal government's principal program for cleaning up the nation's contaminated waste sites and protecting public health and the environment from releases of hazardous substances. Enacted into law as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA, P.L. 96-510), the program became known as Superfund because Congress established a large trust fund -- originally supported by taxes levied on specific petroleum products and chemicals -- to provide the majority of the program's funding needs. Havertown, Pennsylvania is one such superfund site.

Our own Havertown Superfund site is only one of over a thousand Superfund sites throughout the country. Pennsylvania has the second most Superfund sites in the country totaling 100 sites. Due to the number of sites and the costly clean up required, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessed thousands of sites throughout the country and created a National Priorities List. The Havertown site was placed on this list in 1983 making it eligible for federal clean up money.

While the EPA has been working on the Havertown site since 1976, since 2007 when I too office two major steps have been taken.

  • EPA added two additional extraction wells to the existing groundwater extraction and treatment facility. The new extraction wells capture water from the deeper aquifer, which has resulted in an increase in the mass of contamination going to the treatment facility for processing
  • EPA formulated a new plan to further clean up all the affected sites.

I support the EPA's actions, much more needs to be done to fully restore the site. That is why I am so supportive of the Superfund Equity and Megasite Remediation Act of 2007, H.R. 1887. This legislation takes decisive action by restoring initial funding levels to the superfund which have not been renewed since the tax designated to fund cleanup expired in 1995. On April 18, 2007 the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Please be assured that as a cosponsor of this bill, I will work hard for its passage.

Notwithstanding the above efforts as to our overall economic security, I have also worked hard to support relief for individual taxpayers, including:

  • Supported a bi-partisan effort in passing the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus For The American People Act of 2008, which benefited approximately 5.1 million households in Pennsylvania, by placing tax rebates into the pockets of taxpayers and tax incentives for small businesses in order to jump-start the economy;
  • Voted for the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act that provides tax relief for more than 98,000 middle-class families in our District, and over 19 million middle-class families across the nation; and,
  • Voted for the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act that provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who have not been able to find work after 26 weeks.

As I stated at the outset, the long-term prosperity of our economy must be our number one priority, because it makes possible what we most want: to raise our children well, to buy a home, to pay for college, to save for retirement, and to live a healthy life within a secure nation. I believe my above-described efforts both in the District and in Washington, DC have demonstrated my commitment to this priority... and which I will continue to dedicate my time to the above efforts.

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