Home>Congress>N.J. Dems split on symbolic resolution denouncing socialism

From left, Reps. Andy Kim, Donald Norcross, Mikie Sherrill, and Josh Gottheimer. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

N.J. Dems split on symbolic resolution denouncing socialism

Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Watson Coleman vote against resolution, with all other N.J. House members in support

By Joey Fox, February 02 2023 2:21 pm

A symbolic U.S. House resolution “denouncing the horrors of socialism” split New Jersey’s Democratic delegation nearly down the middle today, with five New Jersey Democrats supporting the resolution and four voting against it.

Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) all supported the resolution. Gottheimer and Sherrill are both prominent figures in the moderate wing of the party, while Menendez is the grandson of Cuban immigrants who fled the socialist regime of Fidel Castro.

“I grew up during the Cold War and saw firsthand how putting all political and economic power into the hands of government led to ‘communist regimes, totalitarian rule, and brutal dictatorships,’” Sherrill said in a statement. “My vote today reflects my opposition to corrupt, autocratic governments and my support for our democratic system of government based on free and open markets and support for individual entrepreneurs whose innovative spirit has long been the backbone of our economy.”

“We live in the greatest country in the world, and I will always stand strongly against socialism to protect our democracy and our nation’s economy,” Gottheimer said in a statement of his own. “That is why today, I joined my House colleagues on both sides of the aisle to denounce socialism.”

Opposing the resolution, meanwhile, were Reps. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), all of whom land on the more progressive side of the House Democratic caucus.

“I just voted no on republicans’ stupid resolution saying Lenin, Stalin and Mao were bad guys,” Pascrell said on Twitter. “Republicans have no ideas, no legislation, no aspirations, no plans. These first few weeks of gop governance are an absolute embarrassment to America.”

“What a complete waste of time for the GOP to bring such a useless bill to the House floor,” Watson Coleman agreed.

The overall vote was 328-86, with Republicans united in support of the resolution and Democrats split 109 in favor, 86 against. Among the Republican supporters, of course, were New Jersey’s three GOP House members: Reps. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), Chris Smith (R-Manchester), and Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield).

Van Drew in particular reacted gleefully to the vote, which was meant to wedge Democrats into either annoying their base voters or putting themselves on record in support of socialism.

“Democrats are now on the House floor opposing a resolution that denounces the horrors of socialism,” Van Drew tweeted while the debate on the resolution was ongoing. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. with a statement from Gottheimer.

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