On his second day in Congress, Rep. Josh Gottheimer was just one of four Democrats to vote to expand Congressional authority allowing Congress to overturn regulations issued in the last 60 session days of the previous session. This is not filibusterable in the Senate.
The move makes vulnerable many of the regulations the Obama administration has advanced in recent weeks, including those that would reduce carbon emissions, regulate for-profit colleges, and a Labor Department rule that more than doubled the salary threshold for full-time employees to get overtime compensation.
From Roll Call, the “law has only been successfully used once in its 20-year history.”
Gottheimer’s vote in favor of the rarely used Congressional Review Act, an artifact of Newt Gingrich’s Contract on America (or was it “for”?) could be seen a practical politics. His district is PVI +4 Republican and he ran on a message of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.
But this quote following his vote gave us pause:
“For too long, unnecessary and out-of-date regulations have been able to pile up on the books, burdening businesses large and small, and passing hidden costs along to families. I also think it’s critical that Congress is always a check on regulation, regardless of who is in the White House. I will support efforts to cut unnecessary and out-of-date regulations and help New Jersey’s businesses and families grow and prosper.”
Does that sound like a Democrat? More, does that sound like what we demand a 2017 Democrat to sound like?
We’re reminded that on the campaign trail Gottheimer promised that for every new regulation passed he would look to roll another back. But what makes any one think any new regulations — whether they’re related to the environment, protecting consumers, or promoting fairness in any arena — will actually occur?
Gottheimer needs to use his new position to help protect policy that matters to New Jersey. “Flipping the 5th,” at least to me, doesn’t mean going from R to D. It means that we now have a large expanse of the state comprising nearly 700,000 voters with a median income in line with the state average that is now represented by a young, experienced, Democrat and an overall good guy who defeated a staunchly conservative ideologue by 4 percentage points.
Gottheimer should not pretend he represents the district Scott Garrett held on to for seven terms. Flipping a district is not about one man. It’s about a new path and he needs to seriously rethink his stances on what it means to protect the environment and what it means to his constituents, partisan or otherwise.
Things like environmental regulations do not need to be framed as some liberal thing that makes people like Rep. Gottheimer kowtow to conservatives. He needs to think differently about protecting the environment. Why not just be a Democrat and rally your constituency that way, while making the case to conservatives (who are wiling to listen) that protecting the environment is all-people policy?
Flipping a district means you vote different. Demand that Rep. Gottheimer votes different: (202) 225-4465