Recording and Transcript of the Tuesday, June 27th "Tele-Town Hall" with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen
- 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.
- Forward, Together
- Resisting A Health Care Steamroller
- Gun Control Now!
- Trillion Dollar Trains
- In Pruitt Pushback, Climate Change Chatter Curtailed
- Who we are
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.
- 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
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.
- Ignoring White Supremacist Attacks
- Paris Accords: Retreat and Recriminations
- Hurricane Awareness In a Leadership Vacuum
- Jobs: Now you see them. Now you don’t
- Intent, Effect And Teen Sexting
Economic news, violence abroad and children’s safety at home held major focus in Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s most recent newsletter. Reading it, we sense some interesting subtexts -- and some noteworthy silences, as well.
Ignoring White Supremacist Attacks
Frelinghuysen once again expressed outrage and sympathy for overseas victims of Muslim terrorists, while remaining silent about the growing trend of white supremacist hate crimes in the U.S.
Even President Trump—who rarely condemns violence perpetrated by the racist groups who fervently support him—belatedly Tweeted in honor of two Oregon men murdered by a white supremacist as they intervened in defense of fellow passengers, including a woman wearing a hijab. And despite Frelinghuysen’s ardent support of service men and women, he was silent on the Maryland murder of Lt. Richard Collins III, a newly commissioned U.S. Army officer who was stabbed to death by a white supremacist. He also said nothing about the nooses left at the African American History Museum in Washington, DC last week.
It’s appropriate for Frelinghuysen to convey concern and condolences after the attack in Manchester England, and the suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, which claimed the lives of 90 civilians, including 11 Americans. The violence was horrific and stokes fears that a similar attack could happen here.
The Rodney Report has commended Frelinghuysen for speaking out against anti-Semitic graffiti and threats against Jewish institutions in New Jersey, but we are angered by his silence on the well-documented rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Latinos and Black people since Trump’s election. Many of these involved perpetrators who explicitly referred to Trump during their attacks or invoked him or his rhetoric in racist graffiti.
- CB-Ohh No: The AHCA is Really that Awful
- Slashing the Safety Net
- Frelinghuysen Vs. DeVos
- When Constituents Come Calling
Arms and Iran
The official start of summer also kicked off a season of budget hearings, in which NJ-11’s Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen as House Appropriations chairman should be expected to play a prominent part.
The dollars and cents issues include the long-awaited Congressional Budget Office scorecard on the AHCA, a troubling list of items on the Trump budget chopping block, and some welcome sparring between Frelinghuysen and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
CB-Ohhh No: The AHCA Really Is That Awful
During Frelinghuysen’s most recent telephone town hall, many NJ-11 constituents asked why the congressman did not insist on a CBO score before voting to pass the latest version of the American Health Care Act. He didn’t have a definitive answer at that point, but the AHCA scorecard released last week by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s brutal -- brutal enough to explain why the House leadership didn’t wait for it before pushing the bill to the floor for a vote.
According to the CBO, should the AHCA become law, 23 million more Americans will be uninsured over 10 years, 14 million in the next year alone, compared to the current law.
It gets worse from there.
- A week he’d like to forget
- Is this proposed tax plan really a win?
- Cook Takes A Look, Downgrades Rodney’s NJ-11 Forecast
- Protecting Officers, Endangering Citizens
- What to know about special counsels and select committees
A week he’d like to forget:
It’s was quite a week for our congressman, one that began with news that he’d been caught interfering with the employment of a constituent and NJ 11th for Change member, and ended with his chance for a 2018 reelection diminished by two publications. In between, the Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a complaint about his note to our member’s employer, in which he called her a “ringleader” at NJ 11th for Change. As CfA director Daniel Stevens said, “If trying to get someone fired for exercising her constitutional right to engage in political activity doesn't reflect poorly on the House, what does?" Frelinghuysen reportedly told members of The Morristown Jewish Center Sunday morning that he had retained legal counsel in response to these events. We wonder if this means a statement will finally be forthcoming — in addition to his office’s previous comment that his note was an “innocuous.”
Is this proposed tax plan really a win?
In his weekly E-newsletter Congressman Frelinghuysen touts the tax plan being mapped out in the House, as “pro-jobs.” A closer look shows that it’s a big win for corporations and the top one percent of income earners. Corporate tax rates would be chopped by more than half under the president’s plan, from 35 percent to under 15 in the House plan. The top rate for high-income earners will be sliced from 40 to to 33 percent.
Rodney Redux is an occasional series that explores Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's career and family history as a member of one of New Jersey's oldest political dynasties.
Since the election of Donald Trump, many have excoriated Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen for betraying the legacy of his father, Rep. Peter Frelinghuysen Sr., who urged fellow Republicans to speak out against McCarthyism in the 1950s.
Frelinghuysen Sr. stood up against a tyrannical force that, for five years, resulted in the persecution of thousands of Americans. The reign of McCarthyism, which lasted from 1950 until 1955, resulted in several hundred Americans imprisoned because of their alleged political views. Many more lost their jobs after being targeted as Communists or Communist sympathizers.
The Rodney Report is NJ 11th for Change's Weekly Analysis of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's Words and Deeds.
- Comey Fired, Rodney....Nonchalant
- Breakfast Without Rodney
- Frelinghuysen’s Post-AHCA Tele-Town Hall
Challenging the Frelinghuysen Status Quo
Features of our democracy that we typically take for granted — like the ability to question our elected officials and hold them to account — can suddenly look very shaky, as recent events have demonstrated in D.C. and closer to home. The President abruptly fired an FBI chief who was in the middle of investigating Oval Office ties to Russian influences. And as a couple of local developments demonstrated, NJ-11’s Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen hasn’t been handling independent thinkers so well, either.
‘One of the Ring Leaders’: Rodney Puts On The Pressure
This morning, National Public Radio ran a piece by reporter Nancy Solomon, focusing on a handwritten note sent by Rep. Frelinghuysen to the employer of his constituent Saily Avelenda, a member of NJ 11th For Change. (The story quickly gained major traction, being picked up by the AP, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Independent (UK), Politico and NJ.com, among many others.)
As a result of this letter, Avelenda was subjected to intense and unwelcome scrutiny about her personal views, directly contributing to her decision to resign her job. NJ 11th For Change is outraged and alarmed by Frelinghuysen’s intimidating action against a constituent who opposes him politically. Has he used such actions before, and (a disquieting thought) will he use them in the future? We would like a statement guaranteeing that citizens will not be subjected to the targeting that Saily Avelenda experienced..