Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

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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New Jersey Can Tackle the Opioid Crisis

Yes, we can tackle the opioid epidemic! An epidemic that led to the deaths of 64,000 Americans in 2016, that is the root cause of the decreasing life expectancy of Americans, and is believed to cost the economy over half a trillion dollars each year. President Trump campaigned on a promise to tackle the problem.  Once elected, he declared a “health emergency”, and offered solutions that fall short of our needs. The President can huff and puff about his wall, and talk about the death penalty for dealers, but long experience tells us interdiction does not work on its own.  It will not keep fentanyl from being made and admixed with heroin to deadly effect.  No, we need to think bigger and bolder and truly make this a national priority for our time.  France had a serious epidemic of heroin overdoses in the 80’s and 90’s, with a death rate that was climbing annually by 10%. Buprenorphine is a medication that reduces cravings for opioids without becoming addictive itself. By changing the law so that any doctor could prescribe buprenorphine without any special licensing or training, France saw a 79% reduction in overdose deaths in four years.  In the US, we are ambivalent about buprenorphine, as “substituting one opioid for another.” We require doctors to complete a training program before prescribing.  Some states also restrict buprenorphine use under Medicaid. Insurers, public and private, often do not cover treatment for addiction.  We need to support Obamacare, support Medicaid, and compel insurers to reimburse for treatment.  We need to create a treatment infrastructure.  We need to to focus on reducing inappropriate opioid prescribing, and rigorously test alternatives, such as medical marijuana or cannabidiol. We must expand the availability of naloxone for overdose treatment. And we need to make all of this affordable.  If street heroin is cheaper than the cure, failure is assured.  Yes, this will be expensive.  The alternative – inaction – has a cost that is unbearable. Let’s start by voting out Leonard Lance and the Republican Congress and let’s create an equitable tax system that allows us to invest in the health of all Americans, everywhere.  #RememberinNovember #NJ07  
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Lance Tries to Douse the Flames of the Fire He Started- Lance, Medicaid and the Opioid Crisis

Lance Tries to Douse the Flames of the Fire He Started We don’t reward the drunk who sets fire to the barn for calling the fire department after-the-fact.  Yet one can compare Leonard Lance's voting behavior on public health to just such reckless behavior.  Why should we applaud him for highlighting $13 million in new funding awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services to New Jersey to combat the opioid crisis?  After all, this is the man who called for the repeal or defunding of Obamacare at least 39 times.  By repeatedly voting to repeal Obamacare, Lance voted to sabotage what has been the most effective program we have in place so far to battle opioid addiction, a scourge that in 2015 was estimated to have an economic cost of $504 billion.  That program is Medicaid. As of now, 38 States have accepted the Medicaid expansion opportunity offered by Obamacare, including New Jersey. Following that expansion, Medicaid has become the key vehicle for delivering substance-abuse and rehabilitation services to populations at risk of opioid abuse and overdose.  Nationwide, 1.9 million non-elderly Americans are addicted to opioids, 128,000 of them in our state.  About 1 million of these people are low income, and to the extent they that they are being helped, those with Medicaid are twice as likely as those with private insurance or no insurance to receive any treatment for their addiction.  The public option, Medicaid, is on the front lines, as it has been in the past in other public health crises.  Small wonder that States have looked for waivers to allow their Medicaid recipients to receive additional services for those suffering from addiction, such as supportive housing, supported employment (such as job coaching), and peer recovery coaching. Republicans have painted Medicaid as the problem, not as necessary tool to combat opioid use, and their claim has been thoroughly debunked. The truth is that both Medicaid and Medicare offer opportunities to make a large dent in the problem, a reality that Congressman Lance’s Energy and Commerce Health SubCommittee has finally woken up to.  Pity about the 39 votes, Congressman.  It’s a bit late to call the fire department.  #RememberinNovember. #NJ07.
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Students Stepping Up, Demanding Gun Safety

On Thursday, April 5th 2018, at Millburn High School, there was a fire drill during fourth period. As almost as if it had been rehearsed, every student and teacher filed out of their respective classes immediately and walked out onto the street. With fire alarms blaring, I found myself studying for my next test and walking at the same time, paying no attention at all to the students around me, who were probably just talking or (knowing the cut-throat atmosphere at Millburn) studying as well. The siren’s harsh tones mellowed slowly, and then became silent. Everyone went about their routine as if nothing happened, because nothing had happened. It was just a drill. 
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Lance Says Ryan Has Sterling Integrity, Despite Hurting CD7 Voters with Tax Bill

  Lonely Leonard It’s getting lonely for Leonard Lance.  Another of his colleagues has chosen to retire, rather than face the wrath of the voters.  And this time, it is the one-time wunderkind, Paul Ryan, whose “sterling integrity” was highlighted by our Congressman.   Oh, please! In 2010, President Obama introduced a bipartisan fiscal commission, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Bowles and Simpson called for policymakers to set, as a basic principle, that the deficit should be reduced in a way that does not increase poverty and inequality; they called for protecting low-income and vulnerable Americans. Paul Ryan never believed in that approach. In December 2010, he proposed a budget that would have been the most regressive in our history.  The first of many to follow.   Under Obama, we had eight years of Ryan’s handwringing about the Federal deficit and the need for entitlement reform.  Under Trump, within a year, we saw Ryan oversee a massive tax cut for corporations and the super-rich, surrounded by fluff about the growth it would unleash.  With a tax plan that was always about pleasing the big Republican Party donors, it was no surprise that the Koch brothers and their ilk immediately showered Ryan and the Republican Party with cash.  Now we see from the CBO that this tax “reform,” and the accompanying budget, will balloon The Federal deficit such that by 2028, the national debt will total 96% of GDP.  We KNOW that Ryan or no Ryan, the drum beat for “entitlement reform,” i.e., cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits and Social Security, will quickly intensify.  Well, WE will not allow the sick, our veterans, and the elderly to bear the brunt of the consequences of a reckless and intellectually dishonest approach to policy making. But Congressman Lance thinks differently. . . . On his Facebook page, he is pictured standing at a lectern which carries the slogan “Debt Reduction NOW.”  And he voted on Thursday to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget.  Come on, Congressman!  After a year of wholly and completely irresponsible votes, this doomed measure was just an exercise in sanctimonious claptrap.  #RememberinNovember. 
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