The Rodney Report: Show And Tell

This Week: 

  • Showing Us ... What?
  • Congress And The Tangled Web of Trump And Russia     cranky_rodney.jpg
  • The Air We Breathe, The Water We Drink
  • What's Riding In Those Minibuses
  • Who's Paying For That Wall
  • Rodney: Live At Last?

 

Showing Us … What?

In a July 20 editorial, The Daily Record urged Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen to “show us the money” to add luster to an image that’s been a bit dulled of late. The editorial board cited a list of recent complaints, such as Frelinghuysen’s lack of town halls, his AHCA vote and his targeting of NJ 11th For Change’s Saily Avelenda. They then praised his role in retaining $11 million for a Chemical Safety Board Trump had targeted, along with a badly needed $900 million in appropriations-bill funding for New Jersey transportation.

Does the funding balance the books? Money is important, but so is an advocate in Washington who represents our values, and whom we can trust to stand for us. 

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Rodney’s Senior Policy Advisor: A recent visit by Adam McGovern

NJ11thForChange_Primary_Logo_2Color.pngRodney’s Senior Policy Advisor: A recent visit by Adam McGovern 

A July 19 meeting with Rodney’s Senior Policy Advisor, Steve Wilson, at the DC office afforded the kind of dialogue we’ve been seeking with the Congressman himself.

ACA Repeal

Steve seemed sure that the Senate’s proposed ACA repeal-only bill would lack enough votes to pass, but confirmed that, if it did, there was no counterpart House bill it could be linked with to move on to the president’s desk.

Planned Parenthood (and comment about Trump Cabinet)

I asked why Planned Parenthood is targeted as an add-on to every ACA-repeal bill so far; this seems to me like a maneuver to push through a political goal as an attachment to a broader bill people are paying more attention to. Steve said that, as far as he could tell, the targeting of PP was “political,” and part of a common practice of attaching controversial measures to bills which have a better chance of passing than the measure would alone. 

I noted that Rodney’s second-round vote for the AHCA would damage PP by attacking Medicaid funding, and that there seemed to be no reason for Rodney to have departed from his former votes in favor of PP funding other than loyalty to GOP party hierarchy. Steve said, “That’s an issue that has passionate people on both sides.” I replied that *abortion* is an issue that has passionate people on both sides, but that is not relevant to PP funding since no federal funds have gone to abortion in many years now. I said that some surveys suggest that a majority even of Republican women are pro-choice, and that there has certainly been no surge in “pro-life” sentiment in the 11th District to coincide with Rodney’s withdrawal of PP support in the last two years; nationally the district was split almost 50/50 for Trump and Hilary (a factor Steve acknowledged), and with redistricting we’ve had an influx of liberal-leaning citizens in Essex County.

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The Rodney Report: Budgetary Blues

  • Rodney’s healthcare: bad for constituents, bad for New Jersey, bad for the country; higher cost, higher taxes and worse care: What’s not to like?
  • Republicans’ Family Planning Problemcranky-rodney.jpg
  • Environmental Spending: A Budgetary Scavenger Hunt
  • From Russia With Lots (and Lots) of Love
  • Equine Slaughter

 

“Don’t tell me what you value,” Vice President Joe Biden famously said. “Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value”  Rep. Frelinghuysen’s moment of truth to show what he values is here as Appropriations bills are coming out of their sub-committees establishing the nation’s budget and showing us what those with power value.

 

Rodney’s healthcare: bad for constituents, bad for New Jersey, bad for the country; higher cost, higher taxes and worse care: What’s not to like?

Frelinghuysen’s Appropriations Committee has been hard at work this week dismantling an essential part of the ACA. The Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Services Bill “advances many other conservative priorities by cutting spending, zeroing out programs and maintaining pro-life policies.”

Specifically, the bill instructs the IRS to stop collecting penalties for people who do not have healthcare coverage, in other words to stop enforcing “the mandate.” Whatever eventually happens with new Healthcare laws in congress, this provision inflames the uncertainty and destabilizes insurance markets with the risk or perhaps the aim of dismantling Obamacare without a single vote to repeal.

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Rodney's Budget; A bad look for America

From the Subcommittee House Appropriation bills we see an agenda.

It calls for “defunding Obamacare,” cutting environmental protections, slashing family planning, and would serve school kids empty calories

During the past two weeks, the House Appropriations Committee, which Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen chairs, and its subcommittees have approved a series of spending bills for 2018. The draft bills will form Frelinghuysen’s budget that will go to the House for approval. While they largely reject most aspects of the President Trump’s infamous one-page “skinny bill,” they would:

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The Rodney Report: In the Absence of our Representative

  • Frelinghuysen Cheers Sneaky Move to Undermine Obamacare
  • Research and Renewable Energy slashed and burned, Clean Water Rule vaporized
  • We won’t have to vote for a ficus in 2018…

cranky-rodney.jpg 

Representative Frelinghuysen had to skip marching in any of the dozen Independence Day parades around the district last week as he was visiting the British Territory of Gibraltar for a “fact finding" tour. But what, if any, facts were found, or whether he missed his patriotic constituents in our Red White and Blue (and Purple), we do not know. He sent us no e-newsletter this week.  Will he be similarly silent as the evidence of cooperation between Russia and the President's family and campaign begins to glare? What would provoke definitive response from our congressman?  A return of a healthcare bill to the House? The elimination of renewable energy programs? Of Net Neutrality? Of Women's rights? We can ask.  And if answers are not forthcoming, we can ask the now four declared candidates who seek to oppose him.

The Rodney Report nevertheless persists, looking under the hood of a couple of bills coming out of the Appropriation subcommittees and introducing you to the courageous woman and men who seek to challenge our absent Representative.

 

Frelinghuysen Cheers Sneaky Move to Undermine Obamacare

Unable to rally public support for the Senate’s Trumpcare bill,  which would result in millions of  uninsured Americans, the GOP devised a backdoor plan that would help dismantle Obamacare.

The House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government approved a bill that would halt the IRS from enforcing Obamacare’s “individual mandate,’’ which requires those without insurance to pay a tax penalty to the IRS. Although the tax is dependent on income and other factors, the cost averaged about $470 for those who failed to obtain minimum essential coverage.

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The Rodney Report: Independence Edition

  • On Top Of A Hill And Behind The Scenes
  • Budgets, Calendars, Bargaining
  • Another ‘Yea’ On Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Agenda
  • Town Halls, According To Rodney
  • To Russia, With Love?

 

On Top Of A Hill And Behind The Scenes

In honor of Independence Day, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen had a byline on North Jersey.com yesterday, praising service, sacrifice and civility in an op-ed that referenced Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” speech,   a Holy Grail of GOP oratory. (“... a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity.”)

A portrait of a humble, old-school public servant with a gentle knack for connecting with others when the cameras aren’t rolling, contributor Frelinghuysen’s piece comes a few weeks after he hired Mike DuHaime, the GOP strategist who headed Gov. Chris Christie’s 2009 campaign.

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6/27/17 "Tele-Town Hall"

Recording and Transcript of the Tuesday, June 27th "Tele-Town Hall" with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen

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The Rodney Report: Critical Junctures

  • AHCA: At A Crossroads
  • Veterans Affairs: Fixes Vs. Cures
  • How Special Are Those Elections?
  • Staying Secure

 

The Senate’s radical take on healthcare, which finally saw the light of day last week, dominated voter attention -- and apprehension. We also take a look at special elections, plus our congressman’s e-News items on veterans and national security.

AHCA: At A Crossroads, And How We Got Here

This week U.S. Senators will vote on what they call the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA), their version of the House bill known as AHCA, or, in yet another shorthand, Trumpcare.

This measure would displace an estimated $1 trillion over the next decade from healthcare funding to bankroll tax cuts for the benefit of the richest U.S. citizens. That is a brutal statement, we know. But then, this is a brutal bill, which:

  • Deepens cuts to Medicaid funding, putting poor children, those with mental-health issues, and those with disabilities firmly in the bull’s-eye.
  • Would leave 22 million more people without health insurance by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said today.
  • Decimates protections for pre-existing conditions by loosening the rules under which states can waive coverage requirements, and allowing states greater latitude in defining what “essential health coverage” means.
  • Throws even those of us in large employer-sponsored plans under the bus – since under current regulations, such plans can choose the rules of any state in the country (loosened rules, remember) as their basis for defining coverage. 
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The Rodney Report: The Unity Edition

  • Forward, Together
  • Resisting A Health Care Steamroller
  • Gun Control Now!
  • Trillion Dollar Trains
  • In Pruitt Pushback, Climate Change Chatter Curtailed
  • Who we are

 

 Forward, Together

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen began his newsletter this week with a brief item headlined simply: “Unity.” It referred to the shooting of Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise, one of four wounded in an attack by a gunman identified as James Hodgkinson of Illinois, who opened fire Wednesday on members of the GOP’s House baseball team as they practiced for a charity game.

Hodgkinson, who died after being shot by Capitol police, was described in media reports as a former volunteer on the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and also, as a man with a history of domestic abuse and run-ins with the law.

“Tragedy touched Congress once again,” wrote Frelinghuysen, in an apparent reference to the 2011 Tucson shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in which six bystanders were killed and 13 wounded. He added: “I endorse Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for unity.”

If that means that as reasonable, thoughtful citizens we are unified in our abhorrence of gunfire as a way of settling an argument: Yes, of course we are unified – we remain unified.

 

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The Rodney Report: Rhetoric and Realities

  • Nice Financial Regulations You Got There …
  • ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes’
  • Healthcare in the Senate
  • No spending on Cruel Immigration Policies
  • Frelinghuysen And LGBTQ Equality

 

preview-chat-FrelinghuysenCranky.jpg

Nice Financial Regulations You Got There, America.
Shame If Something Were To Happen To Them...

Last week House Republicans nearly unanimously approved the Financial Choice Act, yet another bill that focuses on rolling back Obama-era regulations. This time, the target is the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legislation crafted in the wake of the catastrophic financial collapses of 2008. Dodd-Frank was designed specifically to protect consumers and prevent future economic meltdowns. By gutting its essential features, the Choice Act puts hard-working Americans’ financial security at risk.

The Great Recession bled nearly 260,000 jobs from New Jersey alone – a loss that was still not mitigated in 2014, by which time the rest of the country had already seen full job recovery.

Rep. Frelinghuysen’s newsletter offers five reasons he voted to approve the Choice Act. The Rodney Report will look beyond our representative’s rhetoric to examine the facts.

1. Frelinghuysen: Dodd-Frank needs reining in.

Frelinghuysen claims that Dodd-Frank was well-intended, but only succeeded in over-regulating Wall Street and hurting Main Street. Now, there is bipartisan agreement that small banks would benefit from targeted regulatory relief. But it isn’t necessary to blast Dodd-Frank apart to do this.

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