>Now that it’s coming down to crunch-time with the state budget and the entire state assembly is up for re-election this year, 13 republicans have decided to join the Democratic bandwagon and support women’s heath issues by looking to restore $7.5 million to the budget that Governor Christie decided wasn’t necessary.
These Republicans, lead by Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (R-Camden), have opposed this measure for the better part of 18 months and are only now joining forces with the Democrats because polling has shown that Governor Christie’s job rating has plummeted among women and they are now vulnerable on the issue.
The following article written by Tom Hester Sr., appeared over on NewJerseyNewsroom.com:
Much to the surprise of Democratic women legislators who have tried for over a year to get Gov. Chris Chirstie to the restore $7.5 million he cut out of the 2010-11 state budget for women’s health care, 13 Republican Assembly members on Friday announced they are sponsoring a resolution to restore the aid to the shaping 2011-12 budget.
Assemblywomen Linda Stender (D-Union) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) responded to the announcement by describing the unexpected Republican action as an 11th hour political ploy designed to pander to the women they have abandoned for the last 18 months.”
As recent as May 19, Christie disapproved of restoring the $7.5 million. In the past year, he vetoed Democratic bills to restore the aid. Republican legislators have supported the governor’s position.
The Republican resolution stresses that no money could be used for so-called family planning. Democratic women legislators insist the money would not go toward funding abortions.
The resolution was announced at the end of a week that featured the release of a Quinnipiac University poll that showed Republican Christie’s job rating has plummeted among women. All 120 seats in the Legislature are up for re-election in November.
Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (R-Camden), the prime sponsor of the new resolution, said, “Everyone wants to provide healthcare for our neediest women and their children and this resolution will make that possible responsibly and compassionately. This funding is an effective use of our resources to make sure that every dollar we spend is used to treat disease or to keep women and children healthy.”
The resolution would allocate the $6.2 million to federal qualified health centers and $1.3 million for New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection.
No money would be allotted to Planned Parenthood and the resolution would change budget language from “family planning services” to “women and family health services.”
“This is an effective way to actually funding women’s health services without getting lost in political debate,” DiCicco said. “Anyone who is truly concerned about the well-being of New Jersey’s most vulnerable women and children can support this approach.”
When Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) introduced legislation to restore the $7.5 million on May 19. Michael Drewniak, Christie’s press secretary, said of the Democrats’ action, “It’s predictable that the majority party in the Legislature, led by Senator Sweeney, can’t resist the urge to open the public’s wallet as soon as a few extra dollars become available. We cannot throw out the sensible budgeting practices we’ve put in place just because of a modest increase in tax revenue.”
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