Gottheimer one of six Democrats to support House spending bill

Vote causes backlash from ‘Dreamer’ advocates

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Rep. Josh Gottheimer representing New Jersey’s fifth district was one of just six Democrats in the House who voted with Republicans to pass a short-term spending bill — which has failed to pass in the Senate — triggering the current government shutdown.

In hopes of avoiding the shutdown, the House approved the stopgap spending bill, which would continue government funding until Feb. 16.

Most Democrats refused to support the bill that lacked a provision to protect the legal status of “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The final House vote was 230 to 197 in favor of the spending bill.

“I strongly reject the partisan impasse that has failed to protect Dreamers,” Gottheimer said in a statement on Friday, Jan. 19. “I am 100 percent committed to keeping our Dreamers here.

“It’s irresponsible and unconscionable to deport 800,000 young people who should have every right to live the American Dream,” he continued. “It’s also irresponsible to shut the government down.

“Unfortunately, this legislation wouldn’t have kept the Dreamers here. But voting against it would have hurt every resident of New Jersey. I voted to fund children’s health care (CHIP), our military, and first responders — and I voted to cut taxes for Jersey families and to stop new taxes on Jersey businesses.”

BacklashIn response to the vote, "Make the Road New Jersey," an immigrant advocacy group, held a small protest outside Gottheimer’s Glen Rock office on Jan. 19. In the group’s call to action on Facebook, the group stated that “Rep. Gottheimer's leadership has failed us and his district.”

“Tonight, he sent a very clear message about which side he stands with,” the group posted on Facebook on Jan. 18. “With his second yes vote on a CR without DREAM, Gottheimer is a now a veteran member of the Deportation Caucus. He stands with racists and bigots and is set on separating families.”

According to published reports, Gottheimer’s district director invited the protesters inside to speak with the congressman via video conference. After the short meeting, which was closed to reporters, protesters said they could not say what was discussed.

Dreamers in NJGottheimer's district includes 19 of Sussex County's 24 municipalities, as well as West Milford and Ringwood in Passaic County, and portions of Bergen and Warren counties.

According to a December 2017 study by New Jersey Policy Perspective, there are 5,600 residents living in Gottheimer’s district who would immediately be eligible for protection under the Dream Act of 2017 and 6,400 who would potentially be eligible.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican whose district includes the remaining five Sussex County municipalities — Byram, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta and Stanhope — also voted to approve the short-term spending bill.

According to the same study, there are 4,500 residents living in Frelinghuysen’s district who would immediately be eligible for protection under the Dream Act of 2017 and 5,200 who would potentially be eligible. A total of 74,000 New Jersey residents would benefit from the 2017 Dream Act, according to the study.

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