U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) whose district includes the Sussex County municipalities of Byram, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta and Stanhope, said Friday he would vote “no” on the administration’s “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act. Frelinghuysen is the new chairman of the power House Appropriations Committee.
Going against the current president and speaker of the House—both of whom have heavily been pushing for the new healthcare law, which heavily favors the rich and insurance companies—marks a huge change for the congressman, whose 12-term career has steadily drifted to the right, and until this announcement has most recently voted 100 percent in lockstep with the GOP party line.
Frelinghuysen’s shift could be heartening to his progressive constituents, who have been dogging him since the election, demanding face-to-face town meetings (that the representative always dodged) and explanations for his increasingly right-wing voting record.
In addition to requesting meetings, action groups such as NJ 11th for Change and Stand Central New Jersey have bombarded the congressman’s offices with letters, emails, faxes and phone calls making it clear that they 1) oppose the current White House and Congressional agenda and 2) intend to do their best to see that this is Frelinghuysen’s last term.
They appear to have gotten through. Frelinghuysen on Friday morning, the day the House was set to vote, said in a prepared statement: “Seven years after enactment of Obamacare, I wanted to support legislation that made positive changes to rescue healthcare in America.
“Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey,” he continued. “In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues.”
Today’s score for the Congressional District 11: People: 1; Corporate interests: 0.