Local Congressmen Support President’s Immigration StandBut MacArthur Worried Obamacare Replacement Won’t Keep Pace With Repeal
On Monday, Southern Ocean County’s two congressional representatives supported President Donald Trump’s executive order that blocks admission to the United States of citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and suspends the immigration of refugees to this country from the war-torn nation of Syria for an indefinite period.
Their support, however, came with some qualifications.
“The security of our nation and safety of Americans must come first as we combat radical Islamic terrorism,” stated Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo, whose 2nd New Jersey District includes all of Southern Ocean County save the western half of Stafford Township and the entirety of Barnegat Township. “This is a temporary pause in the refugee resettlement program so that we may strengthen the screening process to prevent Islamic jihadists from coming to our country to attack us.”
But LoBiondo criticized the rollout of the president’s executive order.
“The hasty execution of such efforts have created wide-spread confusion, frustration and misrepresentation of what America stands for. This was avoidable and I urge the Trump administration, working with appropriate federal, state and local agencies, to quickly reassess.”
Representative Tom MacArthur, whose 3rd New Jersey District includes the western half of Stafford and all of Barnegat, was even stronger in his support of the president and more muted in his criticism.
“Our process of vetting refugees has been dangerously flawed and must be fixed,” he said. “We must be right every time because our enemies only need us to be wrong once. The president’s first responsibility is to keep Americans safe, and while I believe this could have been implemented better, I applaud him for acting. Our new president deserves the chance to make our country safer and I will work in Congress to help the administration settle on a long-term fix that protects our people and our values.”
Over the weekend, though, MacArthur expressed much more concern about the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
GOP senators and House members held a retreat in Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday. A closed-door meeting discussing repeal and replace was part of their itinerary.
The Washington Post obtained an audio recording of the meeting that showed several GOP lawmakers had reservations about the speed of the repeal and replace effort, worried that replace may not be able to keep up with repeal. MacArthur was one of the Republicans quoted in a resulting Post article.
“Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) worried that the plans under GOP consideration could eviscerate coverage for the roughly 20 million Americans now covered through state and federal marketplaces and the law’s Medicaid expansion,” read the article by Post reporter Mike DeBonis, that went on to quote MacArthur. “‘We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.’”
DeBonis wrote that “the remarks of all lawmakers quoted in this article were confirmed by their offices or by the lawmakers themselves.” —R.M.