FILE - NJ Josh Gottheimer, Bill Pascrell 4-17-2019

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. (left), is joined by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., during a news conference, April 17, 2019, in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

(The Center Square) – New Jersey’s congressional delegation unsurprisingly reacted along party lines to the U.S. House’s passage of a $1.75 trillion social spending plan.

Members sent out a flurry of statements before and after the passage of H.R. 5376, the so-called Build Back Better Act. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the measure “would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting any additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.”

U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-New Jersey, said the “historic legislation puts workers and their families first.”

“The Build Back Better Act is a game-changer and a job-generator. It will provide access to affordable, quality child care so parents don’t have to choose between their family and their livelihoods, and it will make jobs in the care economy more sustainable,” Norcross said in a statement.

“It reins in runaway health care costs so workers can keep more of their pay,” Norcross added. “It closes critical gaps in Medicare coverage so seniors on fixed incomes don’t go bankrupt. It lowers excessive prescription drug costs so people aren’t price-gouged for needed medicines. And it tackles climate change by creating good-paying jobs and making America a leader in the green economy.”

However, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-New Jersey, derided the bill, saying there are “real issues that are affecting Americans everyday lives.” The legislation, Van Drew said, “will only cripple our economy and provide billions of dollars to the Green New Deal.”

“In this 2,000-page bill, it fails to include any mention of border control, China, or Afghanistan,” Van Drew said in a statement. “Instead, ‘green’ is mentioned 148 times, ‘equity’ is mentioned 33 times, and ‘environmental justice’ is mentioned 21 times. This is absurd," he said.

“...We cannot allow for the federal government to insert their excessive government overreach into Americans’ lives, starting from the moment they are born, and infringing on the right to individual freedom,” Van Drew added. 

In the wake of a surprisingly close governor’s race this year, Republicans have their sights set on four congressional seats in New Jersey currently held by Democrats – U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski and Mikie Sherrill. All four voted in favor of the Build Back Better Act.

While the House voted 220-213 to pass the bill, its future in the U.S. Senate is uncertain.