Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman called Congress “dysfunctional” because members of the Tea Party who are holding the rest of the Republican party hostage, preventing progress from being made. He also said Democrats in the ninth congressional district should choose him in the June primary over opponent Bill Pascrell because he is a progressive Democrat with a voting record to prove it. Rothman spoke with NJToday Managing Editor Mike Schneider in the second of a two-part interview.
Rothman said members of the Tea Party don’t represent most Americans. “Whether it’s a woman’s right to choose, immigration, health care, job creation, infrastructure, they are way out of step with the majority of New Jerseyans as well as the majority of Americans,” Rothman said.
He said that group of Republicans is the reason more action hasn’t been taken in Congress. He said the Tea Partiers are very extreme, pointing out that they were willing to let the country default on its debt for the first time in American history. He also said Republicans in the Senate are using filibusters to prevent items from getting approved unless they have 60 votes, which hasn’t been done.
Rothman criticized Republicans for going to extreme measures to try to win back the presidency. “You have the Senate Republican leader saying last year, ‘Our number one goal is to prevent Barack Obama from accomplishing anything as president so that we can retake the White House in 2012,'” Rothman said. “That’s an extreme thing to say and that’s how they’ve been operating.”
Rothman said in order to get items accomplished, Congress needs reasonable people serving. He also said the newly redrawn ninth congressional district needs to have a progressive Democrat as a representative. He said he fits that bill much more than Bill Pascrell.
“Democrats in New Jersey’s ninth congressional district are going to have an important choice June 5 between myself, a progressive democrat with a voting record to prove it, and my opponent who has voted for all those things that a progressive Democrat just doesn’t support and doesn’t vote for.”