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  • Writer's pictureLisa Bonnano

Any Way the Wind Blows

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Jeff Van Drew went to Congress preaching the virtues of communication and compromise.

He proudly joined the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus as a conservative Democrat. In January 2019, the new House Representative celebrated an end to one of Trump’s government shutdowns with a press release listing his favorite features of the deal. The statement ended gracefully:

“I will continue to do all I can to work together with my fellow Representatives for the betterment of the American people and the people of South Jersey.”

By the end of his freshman year, Van Drew recorded his infamous vote against a Presidential impeachment inquiry and defected to the Republican party.

By May 2020, he’d evidently joined the fake news brigade. In a press release sulking over the House’s passage of the HEROES Act, Van Drew stated that the act included:

Stimulus payments to illegal aliens, to also include retroactive payments.”

Fact-checking site Snopes characterized that claim as “Mostly False”, since the legislation provided for stimulus checks for immigrants working under a tax ID system set up for those without social security numbers. These are income-earning immigrants with formal arrangements to pay taxes to our government.

Van Drew’s statement directed its rage squarely at Nancy Pelosi. It outrageously distorted the facts until they fit a Trump-approved narrative. It also bore no resemblance to the positive energy in his first few statements as Representative.

Speaker Pelosi’s House had promptly passed the HEROES relief package, but this legislation was doomed before delivery to We the People because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, refused to bring it up for a vote in the Senate. The impasse lasted from mid-May to December, despite a slimmer version passing the House in October.

Seven months after his HEROES tantrum, Van Drew seemed to forget that it ever passed the House. In a December 2020 press release entitled “Cats, Cannabis, Coins, and COVID,” Van Drew bewailed the delay in coronavirus relief and again blamed Pelosi.

“Instead of passing this solution this week, here are the priorities that Speaker Pelosi has had us vote on instead: Big Cat legislation, Legalizing marijuana, and Commemorative coins.”

Yet, on the day before this press release, Pelosi and McConnell had actually agreed on how to proceed with the HEROES Act. Things were beginning to move. Also on the day before this press release, the House approved a bill that Van Drew cosponsored: the Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin.

Van Drew had signed onto an uncontroversial bill honoring African American athletes, then publicly slandered it as frivolous to advance Trump’s talking points.

Instead of building consensus, he’s engaging in division and distortion. It verges on abuse.

What is Jeff Van Drew actually doing in Congress? Does he believe anything he’s signing? Or, is it all a potential offering on the altar of power?

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