The Rodney Report: Done and Undone

  • 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.

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The Rodney Report: Unkind Cuts

  • CB-Ohh No: The AHCA is Really that Awful
  • Slashing the Safety Net
  • Frelinghuysen Vs. DeVos
  • When Constituents Come Calling
  • Arms and Iranpreview-chat-FrelinghuysenCranky.jpg


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.

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The Rodney Report: Nothing Up My Sleeve

  • 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.

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Rodney Redux: Frelinghuysen's Dad vs. McCarthyism

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.

f000371_200.jpgSince 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.

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The Rodney Report: Influence, Intimidation and Preserving Democracy

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 QuoFrelinghuysenMonopoly--PamWye-2.jpg


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, 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..


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5/9/17 Telephone "Town Hall" Transcription

Rodney Frelinghuysen Telephone Town Hall 5/9/17

Transcribed from

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Frelinghuysen targets activist with a letter to her employer

We are outraged and alarmed by Representative Frelinghuysen’s intimidating action against an ordinary constituent, as reported this morning by NPR.   

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Rodney Redux: The Really Green Challenger of 2000

By Liz Haigney-Lynch

Rodney Redux is an occasional series that explores Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's career and family history as a member one of New Jersey's oldest political dynasties. 

image616607.jpgOn one level, it was reality TV, pure and simple. “Ficus for Congress” was an installment of activist/documentarian Michael Moore’s TV series “The Awful Truth,” which ran 1999-2000 on the Bravo cable network. In his episode of June 21, 2000, Moore detailed his efforts to run a ficus plant in the NJ-11 primary against the unopposed incumbent, one Rodney Frelinghuysen.

But “Ficus for Congress” was also the kind of episodic political theater Moore perfected in documentaries such as "Roger & Me." This time, his target was the fog of complacency and apathy resulting from “safe” congressional districts, when elections, particularly primaries, become foregone conclusions and participation feels meaningless. With the potted ficus plant, Moore hit upon a perfect metaphor for the numbing effect of safe seats. A utilitarian, unremarkable décor placeholder – what could be better?

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The Rodney Report: Frelinghuysen's Devastating Flip on Health Care

The Rodney Report is NJ 11th for Change's Weekly Analysis of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's Words and Deeds.

  • Pre-existing Conditions and High Risk Pools
  • Medicaid Cuts in New Jersey, Ending Special Assistance in Schools
  • Employer-based Plans: Lifetime Caps & Inequity
  • Kick the Can
  • Rodney & The Omnibus BillFrelinghuysenMonopoly--PamWye-2.jpg
  • The Week According to Rodney


Rep. Frelinghuysen voted “yes” on the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) last week, a drastic about-face from his public statements on an earlier version of the bill — and a violation of the promise he made to NJ 11th members during an in-person meeting in his DC office, which was captured on video. In a statement released after the vote, Frelinghuysen assured the public that his previous concerns about the bill were assuaged by two amendments that, in fact, do nothing to reduce the proposed $880 billion Medicaid cuts and little to protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Pre-existing Conditions and High Risk Pools

In a misleading statement on his website, Frelinghuysen claims that under the new bill, insurance companies cannot deny anyone coverage based on pre-existing conditions or use health status to set premiums, “Unless your state asks for and receives a waiver—a condition of which is the state having other protections in place for those with pre-existing conditions..As long as you've been continuously covered, you can't be charged more money,'' Frelinghuysen explained.

This is not exactly the case. The AHCA, as amended, enables states that obtain a waiver to construct a second pool of enrollees who had a gap in coverage, separating the healthy from the sick, and creating high-risk pools. While the amendment offers these states an additional $8 billion in federal funds through 2022, raising the total amount available for high risk pools to $138 billion, the Center for American Progress estimates that these pools are woefully underfunded. They would actually need another $200 billion to properly fund coverage for high-risk patients.

More than half of all Americans of all ages and three quarters over the age of 45 have pre-existing conditions. While there is not a specific AHCA list of pre-existing conditions, insurers would have leeway to raise premiums for a multitude of illnesses, which was banned under Obamacare (the American Healthcare Act). Before the ACA, insurance companies could deny coverage or charge higher rates for anything listed as a pre-existing condition. The lists were voluminous, including relatively minor ailments like acne, acid reflux and eczema, along with many traumas, terminal diseases and mental disorders.

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The Rodney Report: Votes vs. Rhetoric

The Rodney Report is NJ 11th for Change's response to Representative Frelinghuysen’s Weekly E-newsletter 

  • The Push to War
  • Honored for 'Advocacy' of Latinos
  • STEM Education and the 2018 Budget
  • AHCA Silence and Conference CallsUnknown.jpeg


Controversy raged last week over the impending House vote on Trumpcare redux, but Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s newsletter avoided the subject entirely. Instead, he patted himself on the back for the successful passage of House Joint Resolution 99 to extend funding for federal agencies and programs until May 5. He also blamed Obama for Iranian nuclear proliferation and voiced his passionate support for STEM education — despite ominous signs he might approve budget cuts that would hobble scientific research and eliminate some of the very same STEM programs he applauds. In other news, Frelinghuysen proudly received an award from the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, which seemed untroubled by his paltry advocacy record and votes against immigrants over the years.

The Push to War

In his Friday E-News item titled "Obama Administration Concessions = Iranian Belligerence,''  Frelinghuysen castigates Obama for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He pointed to a recent Politico story, which cited federal investigators and prosecutors who angry at the administration for underplaying the threat posed by prisoners released to Iran. They believe the White House undermined both years spent pursuing Iranian arms dealers and their National Counter-proliferation Initiative. However, two years on, the non-partisan Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation believes that “this good deal is significantly better than the bad alternatives.”

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