There in a flash: Activists, candidates denounce tax bill outside Frelinghuysen’s Morristown office

Activists denounce GOP tax bill outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Activists denounce GOP tax bill outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
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Chanting “Rodney Rodney, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side,” dozens of activists denounced the GOP tax bill outside the Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) on Monday.

“We have to fight back. We are Jersey strong. We are absolutely not allowing this to happen to us,” said Christine Clarke of NJ 11th for Change. , environmental director for Action Together New Jersey, which scheduled similar “flash protests” outside Republican congressional offices across the state.

The 500-page Senate bill approved over the weekend will bring oil drilling to the Arctic, while killing the renewable energy industry by eliminating tax credits, Clarke said.

Activists chant outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Activists chant outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier

It also guts the funding mechanism for the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

“I have friends who will die if the ACA goes away,” said Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, a disabled resident from Morristown who said she could not obtain health insurance prior to Obamacare.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Activists outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Activists outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier

“I don’t think there is a better example of how broken our system is, than this tax bill…done in the dead of night, hand-written notes scribbled in the margins,” said Democratic candidate Mikie Sherrill.

New Jersey’s middle class will suffer, she said, from the bill’s elimination of most tax deductions for property taxes, mortgage interest, student loan interest, and medical expenses.

And the pain will extend to the next generation, which will get stuck paying for the extra $1.5 trillion tacked onto the federal deficit, Sherrill said.

Democratic candidates John Bartlett and Tamara Harris and GOP contender Martin Hewitt also came to Morristown to assail the Senate vote.

“This is not a tax plan. This is theft on the largest scale this country has ever seen,” said Hewitt, a former Democrat who accused “fake Republicans” of hijacking the GOP to add hike the deficit.

Playlist: Toggle for clips of activists and candidates Mikie Sherrill, Martin Hewitt and John Bartlet. Videos by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com:

“What happened the other night at 2 in the morning is not democracy. It is the opposite of democracy. It has nothing to do with party. It has to do with greedy individuals who are now in control of the Republican party,” said Hewitt.

'Flash protest' outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
‘Flash protest’ outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier

Bartlett, a Passaic County freeholder, said the tax changes would prevent him from deducting his law school loan payments. Higher education and infrastructure improvements are sure to suffer under this spending plan, he said.

“We have an idea in Washington of dis-investing in everything. This idea that there’s nothing worth doing. It’s deeply destructive,” Bartlett said.

Placard outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Placard outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier

The Senate bill must be reconciled with the House version before becoming law. Frelinghuysen, chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, voted against the House bill, saying it would hurt New Jersey.

Opponents called this political theater, asserting the 12-term Congressman had done nothing to prevent the legislation from advancing.

Morristown Green contributor Bill Lescohier contributed to this report.

Sign outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Sign outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Demonstration outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Demonstration outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
More signs outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
More signs outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Uyen “Winn” Khuong from Action Together New Jersey, outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Uyen “Winn” Khuong from Action Together New Jersey, outside Morristown office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), Dec. 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier

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1 COMMENT

  1. So it’s not enough that he voted no in the House…he somehow should have prevented it from being put to a vote in the Senate as well? How democratic. Please describe in detail the actions that he should have taken to prevent the Senate from voting on this bill. I’ll even start you off: “Rodney Frelinghuysen is in the House of Representatives, in order to prevent the Senate from voting on a bill he should have….” Please complete the sentence.

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