Norcross (NJ-1 D+11) is from a powerful south New Jersey family and has spent much of his time in office largely ignoring progressive priorities while devoting his energies to passing bills that help his brother’s business interests.

By Christopher D. Cook, RootsAction

Donald Norcross, in Congress since 2014, may be best known as the brother of South Jersey power broker and insurance-industry executive George Norcross. According to an investigation by ProPublica and WNYC, the Norcross brothers joined forces when Donald was a state senator to push through a 2013 state tax plan that reaped “at least” $1.1 billion for George’s powerful insurance brokerage and connected business partners and charities. Norcross represents a heavily Democratic congressional district that includes the impoverished city of Camden and New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia.

On March 17, 2021, as Rep. Jayapal introduced her Medicare for All bill, Norcross tweeted promisingly: “The United States is the richest country in the world, but millions of Americans still can’t afford health care. #MedicareForAll will change that—it’s time for a bold change.” Yet at year’s end, Norcross still has not co-sponsored the legislation in either of the last two sessions of Congress. A coalition of progressive New Jersey groups has urged Norcross to match his words with action. Norcross raked in $82,000 from the insurance industry sector in the 2020 election cycle.

While Norcross supported the COVID-vaccine waiver, he has often failed to back progressive priorities. Norcross has not co-sponsored either Green New Deal measure, and he voted for legislation in 2018 to boost natural gas exports.

Norcross, whose congressional website features an aircraft carrier in fully armed military posture, sits on the House Armed Services Committee and has proved a reliable Yes for military spending increases—“fighting to ensure our military is ready to meet any challenge, at home or abroad,” as his website puts it. He was one of 70 Democrats who signed the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken undermining an Iran nuclear deal. He voted against both military budget-cut amendments and voted for massive military budget increases in  2020 and 2021. Norcross chairs the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee and serves on the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. He voted last year to reauthorize warrantless government surveillance powers, after voting to expand those powers in 2018.

In an interview with Defense News, asked about his “Buy American” push for military manufacturing, Norcross responded: “The Chinese are very focused on trying to have a boot on the throat of America so that it can cut off some of those critical supplies.” Norcross also heaped praise on Israel’s Iron Dome, calling it “a purely defensive system that safeguards lives.” According to research by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Norcross has received more than $52,000 worth of trips to Israel paid for by “pro-Israel” groups allied with AIPAC.

Despite his dubious record on many core issues, Norcross received the endorsement of the Progressive Caucus in his 2020 reelection bid, and is the caucus’ vice chair for labor; yet he also is a member of the corporatist New Democrat Coalition. Norcross is being challenged in 2022 by Mario DeSantis, who supports universal single-payer healthcare and Pentagon budget cuts, among other progressive priorities opposed by Norcross.

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