Elections have consequences. But did any of us really appreciate how dire the consequences would be for American values with the election of Donald Trump?
Did we really expect that our immigration policy would devolve into the forcible separation of mothers and their children? A policy that evangelical leader Franklin Graham, and a prominent Trump supporter, described as “disgraceful." That Cardinal Dolan said was “unAmerican” and “unbiblical.” That is opposed by all four living former First Ladies.Read more
The following is a collection of public statements and voting records on healthcare 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|
|Supports ACA (Obamacare)||YES*||YES*||YES||NO||YES|
|Supports Single Payer||YES||YES||N/A||NO||N/A|
|Supports Women’s Health||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Supports Medicare for ALL||YES||YES||N/A||NO||YES|
|Believes Healthcare is a right||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
* Prefers Medicare for All - Single Payer
N/A - Not Addressed
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Fact Meets Fable: “The Ass and its Purchaser.”
Aesop’s Fable, “The Ass and its Purchaser,” is the source of the aphorism that you can tell the character of a man by the company that he keeps. Our Congressman, who said that “Donald Trump will have my enthusiastic support,” should read it. He has embraced an administration that has become a byword for venality and corruption. What does that say about the enthusiastic supporter?
Trump never separated himself from his business, managed day-to-day by his adult sons, with whom he is in regular contact and who also work as leading members of his political operation. Trump doubled the fee for admission to membership of his private club at Mar-a-Lago, where the wealthy can lobby for his support and simultaneously create a cash cow for the President. And when the Republican National Committee hosts fund-raisers at Mar-a-Lago, his supporters’ political donations are also transformed into revenue for his business.Read more
Way back in 2013, Congressman Leonard Lance’s proud boast was that he had voted 39 times to repeal, defund or dismantle Obamacare.
In 2017, Lance voted FOR the Republican repeal measure, when it emerged from the Committee on which he serves. Of course, when faced with a constituency-wide rebellion, Congressman Lance changed his tune, and ultimately voted AGAINST the legislation on the House floor. This is the vote he would like us to remember in his attempts to paint himself as the model of a moderate Republican.Read more
(Inspired by: Congressman Lance Declines Invitation to Town Hall)Read more