by Jasmine Batchelor
February 15, 2019
U.S. House of Representatives
On January 3, 2019, Frank Pallone, Jr. was sworn in for his 16th full term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pallone represents New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District, which covers most of Middlesex County, as well as the Bayshore and oceanfront areas of Monmouth County.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Pallone’s legislative accomplishments have been geared to the protection and restoration of environmental resources and making health care more affordable and accessible.
In 2019, Pallone was sworn in as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to energy, environment, health care, commerce, and telecommunications.
As Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee during the 114th and 115th Congress’, Pallone led Democrats in passing key health care and environmental bills that were signed into law by President Obama. In March 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which improved the quality of health care for America’s seniors while also lowering costs, ensured that over eight million children and pregnant women continue to have access to health care coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and provided $8 billion to fund Community Health Centers.
In May 2016, Pallone led Democratic efforts to pass the first comprehensive update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since its original passage in 1976. The TSCA update was a long-overdue step forward in protecting families and communities from toxic chemicals. The law will remove dangerous chemicals like lead, mercury and asbestos out of consumer products and the environment.
Pallone also led Democratic negotiations in the House on the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. The Cures law provides billions of dollars in funding for Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, research to increase our understanding and treatment of brain disorders, and grants for states and communities hard-hit by the opioid abuse crisis. It also includes important reforms to our broken mental health system.
Pallone is focused on fighting the opioid epidemic in New Jersey and throughout the country. He led democratic efforts to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, which improves the tools available to prescribers to prevent opioid abuse. CARA also expands access to lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drugs and Pallone helped secure an additional $1 billion to combat the opioid epidemic as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which also passed in the 114th Congress. 21st Century Cures allocates billions towards cutting edge medical research and development of new treatments.
From 2006 to 2014, Pallone served as the top Democrat on the Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. As Chairman during the 111th Congress, Pallone played a key role in authoring and passing the Affordable Care Act. The landmark law extends health care coverage to millions of Americans, while driving down health care costs and reigning in abusive tactics used by insurance companies to deny medical treatment.
Pallone was also one of the main authors of food safety reform, which emphasizes prevention and safety measures that help ensure food is safe before it reaches the kitchen tables of millions of families. In the 112th Congress, Pallone introduced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reform Act of 2012 to ensure that Americans have access to safe and effective drugs and medical devices.
Pallone has successfully worked throughout his career to stop ocean dumping and offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. He has obtained millions of dollars for shore protection and beach replenishment work along a large stretch of the Jersey Coast, for dredging of the area’s navigation channels and for the maintenance of his district’s National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook. He has also championed issues important to the state’s commercial and recreational fishing industries.
Pallone is a leader in protecting the integrity of the Medicare guarantee and Medicaid programs, ensuring food safety, strengthening the federal Superfund program to clean up toxic waste sites, strengthening the nation’s clean water laws, and protecting our shores against the threat of offshore drilling.
Frank Pallone, Jr., was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, where he grew up and still resides. The son of a policeman, Pallone attended local public schools and earned an academic scholarship to Middlebury College. After graduating cum laude from Middlebury in 1973, Pallone received his master’s degree in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He earned his law degree at Rutgers University in 1978, and has been admitted to the bar in four states: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Pallone began his political career in his home city of Long Branch, getting elected to the City Council in 1982 and winning re-election four years later. In 1983, Pallone was elected to the state Senate, representing the Monmouth County coastline. He was re-elected in 1987. During his tenure in the state Legislature, Pallone distinguished himself as an advocate for environmental issues and senior citizen concerns, and prioritized providing constituent services.
On November 8, 1988, Frank Pallone, Jr., was elected to the House of Representatives from New Jersey’s former Third District, encompassing parts of Monmouth and Ocean counties. In March 1992, a new Congressional district map for New Jersey was adopted. Portions of the former Third District were merged with parts of two other districts to create the Sixth Congressional District, taking in large portions of Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Pallone was first elected to the Sixth District seat in November 1992.
Pallone’s Central Jersey district is an ethnically diverse area with a wide range of business and industry. Light and heavy manufacturing facilities provide jobs for thousands of area residents. Central Jersey is on the cutting edge of high technology research and development. The district is home to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Monmouth University. Tourism, primarily centered in the coastal areas, is vital to the regional economy. While the district has a predominantly suburban character, the cities of New Brunswick, Asbury Park and Perth Amboy are key urban centers.
Pallone married the former Sarah Hospodor in 1992. They have three children, daughters Rose and Celeste, and a son, Frank.