Republican Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-7), who represents Millburn and points west, and three other Republican Congressman from New Jersey districts spurned the American Health Care Act last week, playing an important part in bringing the first legislative effort of the Trump administration to a crashing halt.
Lance, Chris Smith (NJ-4), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) all ultimately voiced their opposition to the bill. The New York Times counts these four among the 33 Republicans nationwide who brought the bill down.
Only Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) was considered to be among Republicans supporting the bill.
Lance had signaled that he would vote “no” by March 14.
The potential for a “no” vote from the Congressman was obvious as earlier as Feb. 22, when Lance held a town hall at Raritan Valley Community College.
In a report on Village Green on Feb. 23, reporter Jaleh Teymourian wrote of the Feb. 22 town hall, “Lance gained support from the crowd when he told the first questioner, a constituent from Frenchtown, that he agreed with her that the healthcare should not be a partisan issue. Lance said that he now believes the Affordable Care Act should be ‘repaired,’ not repealed.”
The report continued, “He claimed that the state healthcare exchanges are failing, with insurance companies leaving the markets, and that the government has a responsibility to reform the system. ‘I do not favor repeal without there being a replacement in place,’ he said.”
Teymourian reported, “More than 900 people filled the Raritan Valley Community College auditorium, with an additional 250 placed in an overflow room, and another 350 protesting outside. Lance said afterward that he felt those in the audience were constituents and not paid.”
By March 14, Lance told CNN he would vote “no” on the AHCA; Lance remained steadfast concerning his vote in a early morning interview on MSNBC on Friday, saying that the did not think the bill would lower premiums for his constituents in New Jersey and that he would like to see a bipartisan effort to reform health care.
Read Teymourian’s full report here.
Frelinghuysen announced his opposition to the bill on Friday, causing protesters outside his Morristown office to break into cheers.