Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

The Supreme Court and the Eroding American Dream

  Leonard Lance belongs to a professional trade union.  The reason members of his legal profession are at the top of international salary rankings is that “the American Bar Association operates a state-approved cartel.” All of our professions practice a sophisticated form of collective bargaining, using restrictive licensing done in the name of the public good, in order to drive up compensation.     But collective action taken by employees becomes anti-competitive and violates the norms of the free market.  You can be sure the Koch brothers raised a glass in Wichita, when they read Neil Gorsuch’s majority decision he just wrote for the Supreme Court, allowing employers to deprive their workers of their right to sue collectively.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rightly attacked the majority verdict for “substitut[ing] its preferred economic policies for those chosen by the people’s representatives.” No doubt Mitch McConnell will be further rewarded for stonewalling President Obama, and allowing President Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch.  His appointment is sure to bring more good news for the right, such as the case in which the Court is expected to prohibit public sector unions from charging non-members who benefit from collective bargaining.  This will weaken the power of public unions by creating new challenges in organizing strategy, political activity and political donation, and bargaining for workers. The Court has already ruled against class action suits brought by consumers.  It is all part-and-parcel of a Court that increasingly is seen as “too conservative” and favors the rights of big business over the rights of workers and consumers.  Donald Trump, for all his populist huffing and puffing, heads a government whose only interest is self-preservation for the donor class and ossification of the very class mobility that underpins the American Dream.  The courts are being stuffed with like-minded jurists who will preserve this reactionary legacy long after Trump is gone.  We have to stop this NOW, first by turning out in force for the Democratic primary in June, and then by voting massively in September to ensure the House and Senate are flipped.  That will give democrats the voting power it needs to put the brakes on this plutocratic administration.   #RememberinNovember #NJ07
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NJ7 Congressional Candidates On Gun Safety

NJ Primaries are June 5! Mark your calendars and plan to vote! The following is a collection of public statements and voting records on gun safety by each of the major candidates for NJ's 7th Congressional District. Please refer to candidate websites and social media accounts for additional information and to interact with candidates.   Lindsay Brown Peter Jacob Goutam Jois Leonard Lance Tom Malinowski Has gun safety position on website No Yes No Hidden Yes Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate No Yes Yes No Yes Supported by NRA No No No Yes No Attended student-organized town-hall on gun safety Yes Yes Yes No Yes  
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NJ7 Citizens Will Pay at the Gas Pump as Lance Watches

  Congressman Leonard Lance was never a fan of the Iran nuclear agreement. In July 2015, he inveighed against it. “Tough sanctions brought the Iranian leaders to the table, kept them there and will hold them accountable.  Removing sanctions without lasting results achieves nothing.” What, then, must he think of President Trump’s casual and offhand de-sanctioning of Chinese cell phone manufacturer ZTE?  “Too many jobs in China lost”, he tweeted.  This after the U.S. Department of Commerce banned American firms from selling to ZTE for seven years because of sanction-busting trade with BOTH North Korea AND Iran. Trump’s move to rescue ZTE from the brink of extinction comes just as the U.S. has reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, and is threatening European companies that continue to trade there. This volte face by President Trump, typical of his erratic style of governance, is no trivial matter. Lawmakers in the President’s own party have expressed deep concerns.  As an avid proponent of “tough sanctions” against Iran, why has Congressman Lance remained silent on the issue? Is he afraid to poke this can of worms? President Trump’s facile explanation for his decision is unlikely to bear much relationship to the truth, based on past performance.  There are several more credible explanations. But perhaps the most concerning is the temporal connection to Chinese state-owned company’s decision to invest massively (half a billion dollars) in a theme park development in Indonesia that also features a Trump hotel and condos.  Any connection would indicate that foreign policy goals have been suborned to profiteering.  There is a strong case to be made that this is a serious breach of the “emoluments clause”, the constitutional provision banning presidents from accepting gifts or other payments from foreign governments, a case made by the former ethics officers of both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. As is usually the case when the ethics of the President are called into question, our Congressman has withdrawn into his shell. Meanwhile, you are paying the price at the gas pump for a decision made for questionable ethical and political reasons.  Happy motoring!   #RememberinNovember. #NJ07
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Lance and the GOP's Congress Target New Jersey

Congress Has it in for New Jersey Let’s face it, Donald Trump and his friends in Congress have it in for the State of New Jersey and the other blue states.  Let’s start with tax legislation.  We have higher state income taxes and larger mortgages.  Capping deductibility of both was a deliberate finger in the eye for Democratic states. And we give at the office!  The average NJ tax payer sends $2,659 more to Washington in taxes than he/she gets back in federal spending, more than any other state.  As good American citizens, we know that we should help out states that aren’t faring as well as we are.  But education accounts for more than half the state and local work force; protective services like police and fire departments account for much of the rest. So how come we get penalized for looking after our schools and our protective services while red states like Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia are rewarded for cutting education and services to the bone? Then there is infrastructure. The #1 infrastructure project in the nation is the Gateway Project, which is vital for the entire Northeast Corridor region that runs from Boston to D.C.  To hear Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C.--whose state received $1.41 for every dollar paid in federal taxes in 2015, compared to our 74 cents-- describe the Gateway Project as “pork” is unacceptable, while Trump opposes funding because he wants to stick it to Chuck Schumer.  What a way to run a railroad! And the ill-fated and ill-thought out attempts to repeal Obamacare would have involved a political redistribution of funds from mostly Democratic-controlled states to mostly Republican ones.  Around 900,000 New Jersey residents, including those covered under Medicaid expansion, could have lost their health coverage. It is no use Leonard Lance bleating that he cast his vote against these measures.  We are not idiots; we know he was allowed to cast a vote against because Paul Ryan had the votes he needed. The only solution is to turn the House upside down if we want New Jersey to get the recognition it needs.  And we can start in New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District.   #RememberinNovember #NJ07
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Lance and the GOP Lack Moral Compass to Lead

Has He No Shame? Leonard Lance has survived another week in which casual cruelty, racism, immorality and venality were on full display in the party he represents. Casual cruelty? How about the comment by White House communication staffer Kelly Sadler that John McCain’s views are of no concern: “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”  Or retired Air Force lieutenant general Thomas McInerney on Fox Business Network stating that we know torture is effective because it worked on “Songbird John” McCain? Racism? How about John Kelly stating that illegal immigrants are uneducated and rural, and would be unable to assimilate into our modern society?  In fact, illegal immigrants are not poor, uneducated people coming over the border. Further, they assimilate just as well as they did in previous generations, and they are more likely to find work than their non-immigrant peers.  Immorality? How about the rescission of funding for CHIP, which costs the federal government $14.5 billion a year to cover 9 million children and pregnant mothers.  Trump wants to strip some $7 billion from funding for CHIP and other children's programs after handing down massive tax cuts to his donors.  Or Trump’s threat to veto the Farm Bill without tightening work requirements for recipients of food stamps?  To save less than 1% of the projected revenue loss caused by the tax cuts, nutritional aid will be denied or reduced to around two million people, mostly in families with children. And work requirements can always be gerrymandered along racial lines, as Michigan GOP politicians figured out for Medicaid recipients in the state.  Venality? Nothing approaches the payola scheme put together by the President’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, to shake down corporations in the guise of providing access to policy makers.  The fact that companies ponied up suggests they were pretty sure they would get what they paid for. And why would they feel otherwise when the occupant of the White House has established his own cash cow? Leonard Lance is too busy burnishing his moderate image to notice that he serves a party that has lost all sense of values.  Fortunately, we, his constituents have retained ours.    #RememberinNovember #NJ07  
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Congressman Lance is Not Bipartisan

Congressman Lance likes to tout his bipartisan credentials. Well, it is time for him to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, and to get out ahead of an issue for once.  It was only a matter of time before the drumbeats would mount for cuts to be made to the budget after the donor class got their big slice of pie through the Tax Cuts and Job Creation Act. And sure enough, President Trump is apparently preparing to send for Congressional approval $15 billion in cuts from the already-approved budget, through a process known as rescission. What is more, this is apparently the first of several such proposed rescissions, all designed to mollify conservatives who are wringing their hands over the size of the federal deficit.  A deficit made worse by their own legislation.  No surprise, the cuts target health care, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program(SCHIP), which was the subject of much wrangling last year. Even some Republicans, notably Senator Susan Collins of Maine, appear to be a little taken aback. “One of the programs that reportedly is going to be cut is SCHIP, and that concerns me greatly,” she said. Of course, we are told the money saved is money that was not being spent. Are children not getting sick any more?  As Congressman Lance well knows, the budget deal was a bipartisan agreement, in which both sides gave to get. It can hardly be said to be a bipartisan agreement if one side starts taking back what it gave.  And there is little merit in vaunting one’s bipartisan credentials without being prepared to demonstrate commitment to the process by speaking out against attempts to undermine it.  Congressman Lance’s modus operandi is to preserve his carefully curated moderate media image by saying as little as possible until as late as possible and to avoid as much trouble as possible. On this occasion, why does he not just stand up and publicly declare a deal is a deal? That would be a true act of bipartisanship. #RememberinNovember #NJ07
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Gag Rule: Leonard Lance and Republicans Go After Abortion Rights and Planned Parenthood

  There’s Nothing Funny About this Gag This is latest idea from the Republican Party bereft of vote-winning ideas.  When faced with the fury of voters, they failed to repeal and replace Obamacare (an action Leonard Lance voted for at least 39 times).  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Creation Act may have sent the champagne corks popping amongst the big donors, but it produced no joy in Mudville.  Nevertheless, a reliable approach to stir up the base is to go after abortion rights and Planned Parenthood.  Hence the contemplated decision to cut off abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood by banning them from receiving Title X health care funding if they mention abortion or abortion-related services-- even if they also provide safe abortion services using their own, separate, non-federal funds.  Title X is the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care that four million people rely on. And, no surprise, those who lack health insurance, or have low incomes, are those who will suffer from this decision.   This so-called “gag rule” was implemented for overseas aid years ago by the Reagan administration, and then by George W. Bush, and again a year ago by Trump/Pence. Overseas groups spending even a dime of their own money advocating for changes in their own nation’s abortion laws were made ineligible to receive family planning funds from the U.S. The results were predictable - an increase in unintended pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, and a chill on public-health research and discussions.  But it has been a policy goal of Mike Pence and the right to bring this policy home for over a decade.  There is political calculation here. Trump has been shown a list of the top 2018 competitive House races, in which every single sitting Republican is pro-life, including our own Leonard Lance. White House support for this change is seen as a winning issue. Lance has been quiet on the topic. Call him up, express your opposition to the “gag rule” and inquire of the Congressman’s position: (908) 518-7733.  If you get a straight answer, let us know.   #RememberinNovember; #NJ07.    
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Who’s Running? NJ07 Congressional Candidates – 2018

  The Facts:   Democrats Peter Jacob (D)- Union, NJ Campaign Website: Jacob2018.com Facebook: facebook.com/PeterJacobNJ Twitter: twitter.com/PeterJacobnj Instagram: instagram.com/peterjacobnj Snapchat: Snapchat.com/add/PeterJacobNJ Track Record -Has not held elective office. Is a social worker who ran for this seat against the incumbent, Leonard Lance, in 2016   Goutam Jois (D) – Summit, NJ Campaign Website: jois2018.com Facebook: facebook.com/goutamjois Twitter: twitter.com/goutamjois Instagram: instagram.com/goutamjois Track Record -Has not held elective office; is a lawyer and stand-up comedian   Tom Malinowski (D) – Rocky Hill, NJ Campaign Website: malinowskifornj.com Facebook: facebook.com/malinowskifornj Twitter: twitter.com/malinowski Instagram: instagram.com/tpmalinowski Track Record -Has not held elective office but has worked in government: The National Security Council (Clinton Administration) and Assistant Secretary of State (Obama Administration). Worked at Human Rights watch during the Bush Administration Republicans  Leonard Lance (R, Incumbent) Campaign Website: lanceforcongress.com Facebook: facebook.com/CongressmanLance Twitter: twitter.com/RepLanceNJ7 House of Representatives website: lance.house.gov Track Record – Elected to the House of representatives in 2008. Prior to this served in the NJ State Assembly and NJ State Senate   *For information on voting record in the US House of representatives please Visit the following: votesmart.org/candidate/4443/leonard-lance   Lindsay Brown (R) – Clark, NJ Campaign Website: lindsaybrownforcongress.com Facebook: facebook.com/LindsayBrownforCongress Twitter: twitter.com/LindsayBrownNJ7 Track Record - Has not held elective office; is a web developer who had been a registered Democrat until after the 2016 election, when she changed her affiliation to Republican   CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO REGISTER AND VOTE IN PRIMARY  
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We Can Make US Economy Work for All

Let’s think big for the American people!  Let’s discard the cramped and narrow politics of avarice favored by Republicans such as our very own Leonard Lance. Let’s instead wake up to the fact that most Americans expect the government to play a BIGGER role in making the US economy work for all of us. Most voters want to RAISE taxes on the rich and corporations; they want INCREASED spending on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare; they want a HIGHER minimum wage; SUPPORT for college education.  We were told that the Tax Reduction and Job Creation Act would spur investment in jobs and workers.  If you are a regular reader, you know that’s nonsense.  Even Marco Rubio knows it: “There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” he said in an interview. “In fact they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.” Thank you Marco! There is more joy in Heaven when one sinner repenteth….. Let’s turn over Congress and roll back this giveaway; and let’s debate some of the big ideas in circulation to restore real prosperity to American workers. Open Medicare to people under 65. Provide free PreK education.  Expand support for community colleges and job training. Expand the the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.  Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, especially for childless adults, to incentivize work.  Put people to work on rebuilding American infrastructure.  Support collective bargaining and wage boards.  Don’t say some or all of this can’t be done!  The alternative is death by a thousand cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and a systematic enlargement of the gulf between the super rich and the rest of us. We can use progressive taxation policies to help lift all boats and restore the faith of all of us in the American dream - that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.  #RememberinNovember #NJ07 #Vote  
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Lance Falsely Claims He is a Bipartisan Leader

  Lance is No Bipartisan. Congressman Lance touts his bipartisan credentials, but he represents a party that delivered a piece of financial engineering, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, designed to ensure a future focus on cutting benefits for the poor, the sick, and the elderly, as the only approach to bringing the budget into balance.  We will hear a drumbeat of misinformation before the midterm election to make us all believe we are better off because of the individual tax break we have been granted. The truth is that most people have not seen any effect that meaningfully impacts their purse.  We were assured that corporations, released from the yoke of an insupportable burden, would spend their newfound wealth on increasing wages for their employees, and enlarging the workforce. Predictably, neither has happened. Instead, increased dividends and stock buybacks have benefited shareholders. Worse, since one-third of the U.S. stock market is owned by foreign investors, much of the benefit from the $238 billion increase in stock buyback authorizations since the tax law passed will flow overseas.   Most of the money released by the legislation will ultimately go to the Republican donor class whom this Act was designed to enrich.  Those making $1 million or more will save more than $30 billion on the “pass-through” tax deduction alone by 2024. No wonder the Koch brothers immediately began writing checks.  And the long term damage to our economy is huge as the size of our deficit approaches the magnitude of the GDP.  Paul Krugman pointed out that the federal government is basically an insurance company with an army: nondefense spending is dominated by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Our President wants a bigger army.  So what is left to cut? Leonard Lance may have been given a pass on signing this pernicious measure, but he knows full well the consequences, as we saw in his support for a “balanced budget” amendment.  We need to “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans” as House Chaplain Patrick Conroy prayed for — before Paul Ryan fired him.  #RememberinNovember #NJ07  
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