Following U.S. Representative Donald Norcross’ (D-NJ) ‘Yes’ vote on a bill to add a new stage of FBI screening to the vetting process for refugees, challenger Alex Law is criticizing the move. Describing it as one instance of what he called a larger pattern, Law accused Norcross of suspending his Democratic allegiances for political gain on a number of bills.
“I was totally disgusted to see Mr. Norcross’ vote on this bill,” said Law. “He is the representative that has voted with the Republicans more than any other member of the New Jersey Democratic delegation.”
Norcross joined 47 other House Democrats in voting for the SAFE Act, which would require require the signatures of three specific high-ranking officials to show that each personally approved the candidate for asylum. The bill’s chances, and how much time the new requirements would add to the current 18 to 24-month process, remain unclear.
“We weren’t surprised, but we were saddened by it,” Law added, saying that the vote joined a long line of instances where Norcross has reached across the aisle despite an overwhelmingly Democratic constituency in South Jersey.
Asked what he believes motivates Norcross’ consistent bipartisanship, Law stopped short of calling the SAFE Act vote a political maneuver.
“It depends on the bill,” he said, pointing to examples like Norcross’ opposition to this summer’s Iran deal and support for the Keystone pipeline. “I’m sure it’s a combination of his family’s financial interests as well as his wrong opinion that it would create jobs,” he said of the latter.
A source close to Norcross offered that Norcross’ vote was based on the congressman’s personal beliefs with respect to national security, and not politically motivated.
“Our nation’s safety and security comes first,” said Norcross in a statement on his vote. “It’s especially urgent considering the deadly attacks in Paris that remind us of our own history with terrorism. My heart aches for any refugee fleeing violence in their war torn homeland. And true to the American spirit, we will continue to welcome them to our shores while making every effort to ensure the security of the American people,” said Rep. Norcross.