Bob Menendez

Ang Santos / WBGO

Governor-elect Phil Murphy says the Gateway Tunnel project is one of his administration’s top priorities, and it will take co-operation between state and federal government to get it done.

“It’s a game changer for New Jersey.  It’s a game changer for New York.  We want to unlock those keys and get that up, funded, and running.”

US Senator Bob Menendez rues what he calls a lost opportunity to build a new Hudson River rail tunnel under current Republican Governor Chris Christie.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The defense team in Senator Bob Menendez’s trial opened with testimony from family members.  The senator’s son Robert Menendez Jr. recalled several trips to the Dominican Republic with his father’s good friend Salomon Melgen.   He called them "family gatherings." 

Prosecutors accuse Menendez of taking bribes from Melgen, a Florida eye doctor in return for helping him resolve business problems with government officials.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Objections for relevance, a lack thereof, pulled the jury from the court room multiple times before the prosecution rested.  Attorneys for US Senator Bob Menendez spent hours on offense.  They say the prosecution has presented insufficient evidence to prove the US Senator guilty of bribery under a 2016 US Supreme Court ruling.  The prosecution seemed to be having some difficulty convincing US District Judge William Walls that they have enough proof to charge Menendez.  The New Jersey senior senator refused questions from reporters after court adjourned.  The trial continues on Monday.

Ang Santos / WBGO

During a rally to oppose the Republican Party’s latest efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senator Bob Menendez promised to be on Capitol Hill when a vote takes place.

“No matter what personal sacrifice I will face, when republicans bring the bill to the Senate floor, I will be there to vote against it and resist against it,” Menendez said.

Even if Democratic Senator U.S. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is acquitted of federal corruption charges, a Quinnipiac University poll finds he could have a tough time winning reelection.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says 49 percent of New Jersey voters surveyed disapprove of the way Menendez is handling his job and only 20 percent believe he deserves to be reelected.

“He’s got a lot to overcome, but assuming that the trial comes out on his side, he’s got a year to work on it, and I wouldn’t rule the guy out because he is one tough cookie.”

Steve Sandberg / For Senator Bob Menendez

The BEACH ACT requires the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that   the most up to date standards are being used to test beach water for contaminants.  Congressman Frank Pallone says right now that’s not happening.

“Most of the time it takes about twenty-four hours.  Our bill would allow for four hours, or try to mandate a four-hour test so people would know even quicker,” Pallone said. Then they can go on the website or they can find out from the media whether they can swim in a particular location.  Then when it’s cleaned up, they know that it is and they can go back.”

Bipartisan legislation proposed by several federal lawmakers would extend the U-S flood insurance program for six years and make some changes to discourage waste and abuse.

Louisiana U.S. Senator John Kennedy says the legislation would cap flood insurance premium increases for homeowners at 10 percent a year.

“That’s a big step because if you look at what we have now, flood insurance can go up 18 percent for a homeowner. And if it’s your second home or a commercial establishment, it can go up 25 percent.”

Alexandra Hill

New Jersey’s senior US Senator is calling on the Committee on Foreign Investment to review a potential majority Russian stake in one the country’s ten largest oil companies.

Senator Bob Menendez says the Venezuelan owned oil company Citgo is currently at risk of a Russian takeover. Its all due to the economic crisis in the country which could result in a default on its debt to Russia, leaving the oil giant, which owns 48 petroleum terminals in 20 states and nearly nine U.S. based oil pipelines, under Russian control.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey state and federal elected officials were at a Jewish Community Center in Tenafly to condemn the recent string of antisemitic acts across the country.

Governor Chris Christie says New Jersey law enforcement is aggressively perusing a recent spike in bias crimes.

“We now have $10,000 rewards available for any leads that lead us to the violation of bias crimes.  And anyone in this state who commits that type of crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sent to prison,” Christie said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Democrats in New Jersey’s congressional delegation staged a rally in Newark against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The republican majority congress in both houses are already beginning the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.  The president-elect ran on the platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare.  Democrats in Congress find that troubling.

“They don’t have a plan, we know that,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, a point that was made by each speaker at the rally.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is meeting with Dr. Ben Carson, the secretary-designee of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, ahead of his confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Senator Bob Menendez questions whether Dr. Ben Carson understands the responsibilities of his pending appointment.

“I want to get a view of Dr. Carson’s understanding of what HUD’s mission is, and the priorities he will have as the secretary designee,” Menendez said by conference call with several New Jersey mayors.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Democratic Ambassador Phil Murphy received some pretty good news regarding his campaign for governor.  

New Jersey US Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker are the latest to endorse the democrat for governor. 

"Two extraordinary United States Senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez.  As good as it gets in this country.  As good as any partners you can hope to have.  I’m humbled by your endorsement today gentleman.  I’m looking forward to getting out in the hustings and rolling up our sleeves together,” Murphy said.

Phil Gregory / WBGO

Some very high profile court cases could take place in New Jersey next year. 

As early as mid-January Governor Chris Christie will know if he’ll stand trial for a criminal misconduct case in state court.  The complaint was filed by a Bergen county man against the governor for his alleged involvement in the Bridgegate Scandal.  Christie’s former aides who were indicted in federal court earlier this year have appealed their convictions.