Voting no was not enough. New Jersey’s 7th congressional district deserves better representation.
WESTFIELD, New Jersey — (May 25, 2017) — Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report on the health care repeal plan. It found the law would increase premiums by 20 percent next year and increase the number of uninsured by 23 million within a decade. Rep. Leonard Lance, who represents New Jersey’s 7th congressional district, demonstrated his lack of leadership and his lack of commitment to protecting his district’s sick, elderly and poor during the crafting of this legislation.
Last month, Lance voted against a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and leave up to 24,000 people in his district without health coverage. The vote came after Lance’s fellow Republican colleagues authored amendments that would allow states to waive the ACA’s standards on essential health benefits and on charging people with pre-existing conditions more.
But with such catastrophic stakes at hand, voting no on the bill was not enough. Where was the Lance Amendment to the Republican bill? If Lance wanted to protect the 24 million people who would lose their health care under the law, then why didn’t he author an amendment to make the bill better?
Since the vote, Speaker Ryan and other GOP colleagues are falsely claiming that premiums would go down. “We are disappointed that Congressman Lance remains silent while his fellow Republicans provide alternative facts about why they passed the AHCA,” said Catherine Riihimaki, who lives in Annandale, NJ, and part of the Indivisible Garden State Values group. “He needs to show leadership beyond isolated votes against his party’s terrible bills.”
Lance voted for the Republican bill when it was under consideration in the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March but then changed his position after the CBO scored the original version. Lance said he supports many ACA provisions, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
But then Lance did nothing. He sidelined himself from the negotiations surrounding the bill. He stated that he had not heard from U.S. President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence — who were talking other Congressional lawmakers to revise the bill — for weeks.
“While I am grateful that he voted against the AHCA, which threatens those protections, I would like to know what he is doing to advocate for me and the thousands of others with pre-existing conditions who live in his district,” said Catherine Riihimaki, a Clinton, NJ resident.
Doing nothing demonstrates Lance’s lack of leadership within his role in Congress. This should not come as a surprise; in 2015, Lance was named one of the least effective members of Congress with none of the 25 bills that he cosponsored at that point being enacted.
NJ7 Forward believes that the constituents of New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District deserve strong and effective representation. We urge Rep. Lance to fight harder for his constituents and against this bill when it returns to the House if and when the Senate passes it with their changes.
About NJ 7 Forward
NJ 7 Forward is a grassroots coalition dedicated to protecting and representing the interests of citizens throughout the 7th Congressional District. It monitors and publicizes Lance’s voting record and positions and promotes transparency, ethics and sensible policies.
Name: Margaret Illis