Verona In Washington: Healthcare, Budget Cuts & Veterans Care

By on March 19, 2017

NJWashingtonCollageThis week in Washington saw the Senators who represent Verona in Washington comment on the impact of the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and strongly object to the proposed 2017 federal budget. Our congressman joined the bipartisan support for a measure to improve the recruiting of doctors at Veterans Affairs hospitals while noting that his role in the budget approval process was to assure “the wise investment of taxpayer dollars”.

On Monday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) highlighted the concerns raised about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare plan. “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just put into stark relief the devastating impact of the Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” he said. “According to the CBO, this bill will explode healthcare costs for millions, particularly older Americans, cause the number of uninsured to rise by 24 million over the next decade, and leave millions of Americans with worse health coverage than they have now.

“President Trump promised Americans ‘great healthcare for much less money’ and ‘no cuts’ to Medicaid”, Booker added, “but the CBO’s independent budget experts are telling us in no uncertain terms today that Trumpcare breaks those promises.”

Sen. Robert Menendez(D-NJ) called the plan “cruel” and “misguided” during a visit to south Jersey on Thursday. “The Republican plan to repeal and erase the Affordable Care Act is cruel, misguided and inflicts pain across the board,” Sen. Menendez said.  “When you take $880 billion out of state health care systems, everyone feels the pain. When you add 24 million people to the ranks of the uninsured, everyone feels the pain.  When you send more people to emergency rooms, saddle consumers with higher out-of-pocket costs, and end protections against insurance company abuses for patients – everyone feels the pain.”

Also on Thursday, Sen. Booker issued a sharply worded statement against the proposed federal budget. “This out-of-touch, callous, and dangerous budget is a reflection of President Trump’s skewed political priorities, not what’s best for middle class families and our country’s economic competitiveness.” Sen. Menendez termed the Trump budget a “house of horrors” for New Jersey. “If the federal budget is a reflection of our values, then clearly President Trump doesn’t value America’s working and middle class families,” he said.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ11th), meanwhile, issued a statement only on the proposed budget that reflected his procedural role as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “Our Appropriations Committee will take a close look at the budget and supplemental requests we received today,” he said on Thursday. “As directed under the Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse. While the President may offer proposals, Congress must review both requests to assure the wise investment of taxpayer dollars.” On Tuesday, Frelinghuysen postponed a virtual town hall that was to have been held by phone because of Winter Storm Stella. Frelinghuysen has faced criticism from some constituents because he declined to hold or participate in in-person town halls during the congressional recess in February.

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“Verona In Washington” is a new weekly column summing up the activity of Verona’s representatives in Congress. Here are the legislative actions by Verona’s federal representatives, both major and procedural, during the week of March 13-17:

On the Nomination PN49: Seema Verma, of Indiana, to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Mar 13, 2017 5:31 p.m. — Vote
Nomination Confirmed 55/43
Sen. Booker [D-NJ]: Nay
Sen. Menéndez [D-NJ]: Nay

On the Nomination PN41: Daniel Coats, of Indiana, to be Director of National Intelligence
Mar 15, 2017 1:46 p.m. — Vote
Nomination Confirmed 85/12
Sen. Booker [D-NJ]: Nay
Sen. Menéndez [D-NJ]: Yea

On the Nomination PN87: Lt. Gen. Herbert R. McMaster, Jr., in the Army, to be Lieutenant General

Nomination Confirmed 86/10
Sen. Booker [D-NJ]: Nay
Sen. Menéndez [D-NJ]: Yea

H.R. 132: Arbuckle Project Maintenance Complex and District Office Conveyance Act of 2017
Mar 15, 2017 6:57 p.m. — Vote
Passed 407/1
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

H.R. 648: To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to amend the Definite Plan Report for the Seedskadee Project to enable the use of the active capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir.
Mar 15, 2017 7:03 p.m. — Vote
Passed 408/0
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

Table Appeal of the Ruling of the Chair
Mar 15, 2017 7:47 p.m. — Vote
Passed 223/183
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

On Ordering the Previous Question: H.Res. 198: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1259) to amend title 38, United …
Mar 16, 2017 1:58 p.m. — Vote
Passed 227/185
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

H.Res. 198: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1259) to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the removal or demotion of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs based on performance or misconduct, and for other purposes; p
Mar 16, 2017 2:06 p.m. — Vote
Passed 229/187
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Aye

On Approving the Journal
Mar 16, 2017 2:13 p.m. — Vote
Passed 243/165
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

On Agreeing to the Amendment: Amendment 2 to H R 1259
Mar 16, 2017 5:29 p.m. — Vote
Failed 194/223
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: No

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On Agreeing to the Amendment: Amendment 7 to H R 1259
Mar 16, 2017 5:33 p.m. — Vote
Failed 183/232
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: No

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions: H.R. 1259: VA Accountability First Act of 2017
Mar 16, 2017 5:51 p.m. — Vote
Failed 189/229
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: No

H.R. 1259: VA Accountability First Act of 2017
Mar 16, 2017 5:58 p.m. — Vote
Passed 237/178
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Aye

H.R. 1181: Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act
Mar 16, 2017 6:05 p.m. — Vote
Passed 240/175
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

On Agreeing to the Amendment: Amendment 11 to H R 1367
Mar 17, 2017 11:28 a.m. — Vote
Agreed to 400/8
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Aye

H.R. 1367: To improve the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Mar 17, 2017 11:36 a.m. — Vote
Passed 412/0
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Yea

On Approving the Journal
Mar 17, 2017 11:44 a.m. — Vote
Passed 246/143
Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]: Aye

Sen. Robert “Bob” Menendez is a Democrat who has represented New Jersey in the United States Senate since 2006. You can read more about Menendez’ record on GovTrack, an independent developer of open data resources on Congress.

Sen. Cory Booker is a Democrat who has represented New Jersey in the United States Senate since 2013. You can read more about Booker’s record on GovTrack, an independent developer of open data resources on Congress.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican, represents New Jersey’s 11th Congressional district. Verona has been part of this district since a gerrymandering in 2012. You can read more about Frelinghuysen’s record on GovTrack, an independent developer of open data resources on Congress.

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