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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.