Although he’s taken moderate stances on national issues, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew is on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “offensive targets” list for the 2020 election cycle, as someone the party particularly wants to defeat.
That’s in spite of him having favored border barrier expansion, voting against Nancy Pelosi for House speaker and opposing the Green New Deal as “a wish list — not a serious policy proposal.”
The NRCC said the 55 seats it is targeting “are currently held by vulnerable Democrats and represent prime pickup opportunities for Republicans” in a news release Monday.
Van Drew, D-2nd, was again a guest on the Fox Business show “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” this past Sunday, where he put in a pitch for Amazon taking another look at Atlantic County for its new headquarters, after its deal to go to Queens in New York City fell through.
He said Monday he is not worried about being on the hit list.
“I will continue to do my best and work my hardest for Republicans, Democrats and independents in my district,” he said, “and because of that reason, I believe I will prevail regardless of what lists I am on.”
The choice facing voters is “freedom or socialism,” said NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, who seemed to paint all Democrats with the broad brush of extremism.
“Whether they are calling for open borders, refusing to denounce rampant anti-Semitism, advocating for a 90 percent tax rate or moving to legalize the murder of newborn babies, the new socialist Democrats are pushing an extreme agenda that is sorely out of touch,” Emmer said in a news release.
Other New Jerseyans on the list include moderate Democrat Mikie Sherrill, D-11th, a helicopter pilot and veteran who became the first Democrat to lead the Morris County district in many years; Andy Kim, D-3rd; Josh Gottheimer, D-5th; and Tom Malinowski, D-7th.
On the Bartiromo show, Van Drew said he doesn’t think Trump should have declared an emergency to move more money than Congress was willing to provide for a longer border wall with Mexico. Van Drew said Trump is overstepping the power of the executive branch.
He called the situation at the border “serious” and said a working group should continue to consider border security improvements. But he said it did not rise to the level required to take away the power of the purse from Congress under the Constitution.
He also talked about why he opposes the Green New Deal proposed by his partymates.
“We can’t do it right now. We do not have the money,” Van Drew said of a nonbinding resolution introduced Feb. 7 in the House by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and in the Senate by Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.
The Green New Deal calls on lawmakers to endorse steps to vastly remake many sectors of the U.S. economy, including moving to 100 percent renewable energy, upgrading infrastructure, boosting oversight of financial services and cleaning up farming processes, according to Congressional Quarterly-Roll Call.
It also calls for universal health care coverage and guaranteed incomes.
The main programs in the Green New Deal would cost about $2.5 trillion per year, according to a report in Forbes. He said it would more than double federal spending, which was set at $4.5 trillion in 2018.
U.S. debt interest payments are funding China’s whole military budget, Van Drew said, and the country can’t afford to go even further into debt, he said.
According to a statement on the Green New Deal put out earlier by Van Drew, “It seeks the complete reorganization of American society, which took hundreds of years to build, in a matter of 10 years.”
He called its costs “unimaginable” and said its criticism of the U.S. economic system was inaccurate.
“The United States of America is the greatest and most powerful nation in the history of the world because we are a compassionate, capitalist country,” he said.