On the Issues | Tom Malinowski for Congress

On the Issues

“My first responsibility — today and tomorrow — is to make sure that every single person who’s hurting in my congressional district gets help. That’s number one. But I would be betraying their trust in me if I wasn’t also thinking about tomorrow and next year and the next decade.”

Congress promised the American people that we would see them through this crisis. I’m fighting every day to ensure that promise is kept--not just to the rich and well-connected, but to every American. We need to stand by our front-line workers, support small businesses, and aid the most vulnerable in our community. We need to be guided by science. And as we navigate and rebuild from this crisis, we need to take steps to make sure we’re better prepared for the next one.

 

None of this is partisan here in New Jersey, but unfortunately Mitch McConnell is playing politics with this critical aid in Washington, blocking what he calls a “blue state bailout.” It’s unacceptable. That’s why I’m working across the aisle with local and state leaders to break through the gridlock and ensure we get the relief we need.

 

Fixing the Supply Chain

Since day one I’ve led the effort to surge resources to our hospitals and first responders. I secured emergency relief for medical providers across our district, and I worked around the clock with county and state officials to open the first public testing site for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents. I won’t rest until we have the resources and tests needed to diagnose cases, track outbreaks, and safely get back to work.

 

We can never allow ourselves to be caught unprepared again. I’m working to ensure the federal government properly stockpiles masks, ventilators, and other necessary medical supplies so we’re prepared for future emergencies. And I’m pushing to produce these supplies here in the United States, to ensure our national security and create jobs.

 

Supporting Small Businesses

We asked businesses to close; it’s our responsibility to ensure they can make it through this crisis, keep their employees on, and safely reopen. Through the Paycheck Protection Program, I’ve helped secure loans for more than 90,000 businesses across New Jersey. And I’m leading the fight to ensure this money goes where it’s needed most: through local banks to mom-and-pop stores in need, not to wealthy corporations like Ruth’s Steakhouse or the LA Lakers.

 

Protecting our Care

In the middle of this health crisis, Washington Republicans are suing to throw out the Affordable Care Act and tear health coverage away from millions of Americans. It’s not just cruel -- it makes us all less safe. 

 

I’ll use every ounce of my power to defend the Affordable Care Act and lower the costs of healthcare for every New Jerseyan, so no one is bankrupted getting the care they need during this pandemic. I’m pushing to open a special enrollment period so everyone has access to health insurance, and to guarantee coverage for COVID-19 tests and treatment. I’ll continue to fight for reforms to make healthcare more affordable, like more generics, price caps on life-saving drugs like Insulin, and allowing anyone to buy into Medicare.

 

Standing up for Small Towns

Small towns across New Jersey are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and are struggling to pay first responders, police officers and teachers. I’m working with our local leaders, Democrats and Republicans, to make this Congress’s top priority. Under our pressure, the House voted in May to send $1.1 trillion of direct relief to our state and local governments.

 

Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell has blocked all efforts for further relief in the Senate, calling this critical program a “blue state bailout.” It’s wrong, and the peak of hypocrisy from someone whose state is subsidized by New Jersey taxpayers. I won’t stop fighting until our small towns have the support they need, and New Jersey gets its fair share.

The tax law that Mitch McConnell passed in 2017 — eliminating our state and local property tax deduction — was a deliberate attack on New Jersey’s middle class.

It crushed New Jerseyans already struggling to make ends meet and blew a $2 trillion hole in our national debt, all to pay for tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Then McConnell used it as his latest excuse to slash funding for Social Security and Medicare. For New Jersey and the country, it was an act of economic malpractice.

 

Since day one I’ve been pushing relentlessly to fully restore our SALT deduction, and under my pressure we’ve seen real progress. Last December I led a bipartisan effort in the House and we voted to restore every cent of the deduction. Mitch McConnell has blocked progress in the Senate and Trump has threatened to veto our legislation, but I won’t rest until our SALT deduction is fully restored.

 

I’ll also continue to fight for responsible tax reform that works for the middle class, not just corporations or the mega-wealthy. We need to close special interest loopholes, bring home money stashed in foreign tax shelters, and tackle the ballooning deficit left to us by the last Republican Congress. And I’ll never allow Republicans to use the fiscal crisis they manufactured as an excuse to cut a cent from Social Security or Medicare.

The bridges and tunnels that millions of New Jersey commuters depend on to get to and from New York are unreliable and cause more delays every day. It’s a direct result of Trenton politicians like my opponent, who slashed funding for transportation projects, cancelled the ARC Tunnel, and left our infrastructure to crumble.

 

In Washington I’m standing up for New Jersey commuters--securing the funding that’s long overdue for our transportation infrastructure and tearing down the Trump administration's regulatory roadblocks.

The first bill I introduced in Congress helps New Jersey pay for transportation projects by allowing us to count federal loans as part of our joint funding share, a policy that has now been implemented in two consecutive federal budgets. And earlier this year my continued pressure won tangible progress when the new Portal North Bridge finally received federal approval to move forward, replacing the existing 110-year-old structure that is a major cause of delays for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.

 

Still, there’s more work to be done. I’ll keep fighting to secure the federal funding we need to finally build the Gateway Project, and the resources and political commitments to allow direct one-seat ride into New York. I won’t stop pushing until our tunnel gets built and we have the reliable commute we deserve.

Last June, a lone gunman from Delaware was arrested outside Tamaques Elementary School in Westfield, NJ with a .45 caliber handgun and more than 100 rounds of ammunition. I’m thankful that the Westfield Police Department was able to avert this potential tragedy. But I refuse to accept that parents must send their children to school in fear, and I’m outraged that so many of us have become numb to this daily violence.

 

As long as a would-be gunman can bypass gun safety measures just by driving across state lines, our communities will be at risk. That’s why I’ve been fighting tirelessly for common-sense federal reforms that are long overdue--universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and laws to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and domestic abusers. I’ve also cracked down on domestic extremism and the hate-filled ideologies that fuel violent acts. Under my relentless pressure, Congress restored every cent of funding for programs to combat white supremacy that the Trump administration cut in 2017.

 

Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming popularity of these common sense gun policies, the NRA’s stranglehold on Mitch McConnell continues to bring progress to a halt. My opponent has received an A+ rating from the NRA, and has made it clear over his decades-long career in Trenton that he stands with the gun lobby, not with ordinary Americans.

 

I’ll never accept campaign donations from the NRA or any corporate PACS, and I’ll work to limit the influence of their dark money in our politics so we can make the real reforms we desperately need.

Healthcare is a human right, and we need to treat it that way. Instead, President Trump is suing in federal court to undermine the Affordable Care Act, and has openly admitted he plans to slash funding for Medicare. Just like in 2018 when we stopped GOP efforts to “repeal and replace,” 2020 is critical for defending the progress we’ve won on affordable healthcare.

 

The ACA isn’t perfect, but it’s a critical first step. It lowers costs, ensures coverage for essential health benefits like maternity care and hospitalization, and protects coverage for the nearly 4 million New Jerseyans living with pre-existing conditions. As long as I’m in Congress, I’ll never allow these protections to be taken away.

 

We need to move forward on healthcare, not backward. That’s why I’ve continued to build on the ACA, and fought to lower prescription drug costs and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Ultimately, we should give every American freedom to choose a public option like Medicare, which would increase competition and lower prices for everyone.

I introduced the bipartisan Know the Price Act, which would prohibit insurance gag clauses so patients understand the full price of their procedures or services and aren’t stuck with surprise bills after the fact. And I’ve been a leading voice to expand Medicare to retired first responders at age 50, so our police officers, firefighters and EMTs have access to the quality care they deserve.

Dark money is twisting our politics, empowering special interests like the NRA to drown out the will of the people. I led the effort to root out corruption and safeguard democracy around the world as Assistant Secretary of State; in Congress, I’m continuing that work here at home.

 

Unlike my opponent, I don’t accept a single cent of campaign contributions from corporate PACs.

I’ve championed comprehensive reforms to limit the role of money in politics and increase transparency to ensure regular people--not corporations or special interests--have the strongest voices in Washington. And I support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision and prevent corporations from spending unlimited amounts of money in our elections.

 

To make our politics work again we need to give power back to the people. I’ve been a leading voice to expand voting rights and crack down on partisan gerrymandering. And I’ve fought and won for key bipartisan reforms to protect our elections from foreign interference.