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Democratic State Senator Doesn't Think Christie is "Cozying Up" to Conservatives

State Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19) doesn't think the governor's veto of health insurance exchange legislation is a sign he wants to prove himself to the Republican rightwing.

A Democratic state senator who sponsored the health insurance exchange legislation that has no hard feelings towards the governor. 

"I expected him to veto it," said Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19), who represents and who has no hard feelings toward Christie for stopping the health care exchange that would've been the first step towards implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - otherwise known as 'Obamacare' - in the state. 

"We needed to make a statement that we think it's best for New Jersey," Vitale said about the NJ Senate's approval of the exchange legislation. "[Christie] has a different opinion. He wants to see it done differently."

Vitale's Assembly counterpart, Deputy Assembly Speaker John Wisniewski (D-19), accused the governor of trying to  by the veto. Christie's name has been bandied about as a possible running mate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. 

Unlike Christie's vehement denials when he was asked about running for the Republican nomination for president, the governor has made it clear he's fine with the veep spot on Romney's ticket.

One of the issues with Christie is that some in the conservative wing of the party , such as the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, or current prospective picks, like U.S. Senator Marco Rubio or even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Christie waited until the last minute to veto the health exchange legislation, without which the bill would've become law.

Vitale disagrees with Wisniewski; he doesn't think Christie's veto had anything to do with him trying to schmooze with the Republican rightwing.

"I got a kick out of the remarks [Wisniewski made] about . I don't know about that," Vitale said. "I think the administration has been working on their own plan internally for awhile.

"I don't think [the veto was] political, that it was done for a purpose or to make a statement." 

Vitale stressed the importance of not politicizing the legislation, particularly since the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take on Obamacare, and will issue its decision on the constitutionality of the health care mandate in June.

"We started looking at what an exchange would look like in New Jersey before the Supreme Court even saw the lawsuit" brought by several state Attorney Generals against Obamacare.

Christie did not join any of the lawsuits, saying that he didn't want to spend the money for it, while if the other states succeeded in overturning all or part of Obamacare, New Jersey residents would get the benefit of it.

Wisniewski, who also represents Woodbridge in the Assembly, said he was "disappointed" by Christie's veto, and that he thinks an override is a possibility.

It's an action that Vitale said will "never" happen.

"No, not ever," the state senator said about trying to override Christie's veto. "There won't be an effort. It would be a foolhardy approach, a waste of time. That would politicize the process even further."

State departments under the governor, Vitale said, have been working behind the scenes to "see what an exchange would look like."

"The Health, Banking, and other departments have been talking to one another. They didn't share very much about what they wanted to do with us," he said. "I think the governor has been working on his own plan for awhile."

The most important thing, Vitale said, is that health insurance exchanges, and by extension, Obamacare not be politicized to the point where the legislative and executive branches in NJ can't work with one another.

"What matters is that we have to come together collaboratively to make a decision," he said.

geraldlyonss May 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM
In capitalism, when you can't find a customer, you lower your price. Even the federal government understands that. The premiums have now dropped by 20% to 40%, depending on your age, circumstance and state. If you considered this pre-existing coverage plan before and found it too costly, give it a look now. best would be to check "Penny Health" for your health insurance
Tom Maras May 14, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Chris Christie is as much a true conservative as his friend and adivsor, John McComac is a true Democrat! To his credit, Gov. Christie is taking on the Middlesex County Dems. Let's see if he'll do anything meaningful when it comes to Mac and Woodbridge! An audit of all the township records, especially the exchanges with the county, budgets, consultants, attorneys, insurance agents, banks,etc., would, if nothing else, make an interesting read!
Can't shut me up May 14, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Maybe Senator Joseph Vitale should return peoples phone calls and not have this staff diss off people.
John Balzer May 14, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Can we perhaps all agree that Christie should veto the quarter of a billion dollar rip-off to NJ taxpayers by Jersey giant Prudential? Prudential, the 64th richest company in the Fortune 500 list doesn't need to tap more deserving and blighted areas of the state in Elizabeth, Hoboken, East Orange and other communities. Christie should veto the Prudential thievery then he can get on to attending sports matches and Bruce Springsteen.


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