Home>Campaigns>NJ delegation votes on party lines for Build Back Better bill

Rep. Andy Kim. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

NJ delegation votes on party lines for Build Back Better bill

By Joey Fox, November 19 2021 11:58 am

The 12 members of the New Jersey House delegation voted down party lines on President Joe Biden’s social spending-focused reconciliation bill, with all ten Democratic in support of the bill and both Republicans opposed. In the House overall, the vote was 220-213, drawing no defectors from either party.

The bill has now been sent to the Senate, where it will in all likelihood be supported by both of New Jersey’s Democratic senators, Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez.

“We need to urgently get Americans back to work to ensure a strong economy,” Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) said in a statement representative of the many sent by Democrats immediately after the bill’s passage. “Today’s vote is a culmination of years of work to pass meaningful, job-creating, economy-boosting, transformational legislation that will help every American.”

While many of the state’s House Democrats largely played a muted role in the reconciliation proceedings, several, most notably Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), made headlines for their demands during the negotiation process.

Gottheimer led a national band of moderate Democrats who threatened to sink the bill unless the bipartisan infrastructure deal was passed – which ultimately occurred on November 8 – and joined Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in insisting that the bill lift the SALT deduction cap, which the final version does.

“Today, the House passed legislation that will help finally restore the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) and cut taxes for hard-working New Jersey families,” Gottheimer said. “Thanks to this bill, we scored a big round against the Moocher States and we will cut taxes for families across New Jersey’s 5th district. Months ago, I said ‘No SALT, No Dice.’ Today, New Jersey’s middle class families won big!”

Republicans, too, were quick to issue statements on the bill, deriding it as a “socialist spending spree” and eagerly predicting that its passage would sink New Jersey’s vulnerable House Democrats.

“Having learned nothing from this month’s repudiation of one-party rule and reckless spending, Democrats like Tom Malinowski, Andy Kim, Mikie Sherrill, and Josh Gottheimer voted to pass one of the most irresponsible pieces of legislation our country has ever seen,” New Jersey Republican Party Chairman Bob Hugin said. “New Jersey voters will hold them accountable for supporting Nancy Pelosi at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers.”

A separate statement sent by National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) spokesperson Torunn Sinclair, however, displays the potential messaging challenges Republicans face regarding the SALT cap.

Among the things that the bill does, Sinclair said, is provide “an eighty-thousand-dollar tax break to wealthy homeowners in New York, New Jersey, and California, a move that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, not the middle class” – a tax break that many New Jersey Republicans, including top NRCC recruit Tom Kean Jr., staunchly support.

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