With the passage of the first coronavirus aid package complete and talks beginning on a second one, a bipartisan caucus headed by Rep. Josh Gottheimer released their recommendations for the next phase in the response to the coronavirus.
“This is an issue where all hands are on deck,” said Gottheimer. “Right now, more than ever, we must come together, and work together, as one nation. This virus does not see gender, religion, race—or political party.”
The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus policy recommendations focuses on an economic response for businesses, employees and the self-employed; healthcare and food security needs; and infrastructure investment.
“This bold, bipartisan package will help provide immediate relief to New Jersey families during this crisis—to address the health crisis and revive our economy,” said Gottheimer. “Congress must act urgently to further protect our residents, communities and businesses in Northern New Jersey and across our country.”
Proposals for an economic response includes immediate, and direct financial payments to individuals; bridge loans to keep businesses operating; developing and allowing loan deference, modification and forbearance mechanisms for individuals and businesses of all sizes, during the crisis; staying all foreclosure and evictions proceedings; contract and insurance protections for existing contract and business insurance policies; and refundable tax credit to employers for employee retention.
“The bipartisan (package gives) the tools to continue solving the coronavirus emergency and ensure the revival of the U.S. economy when it is over.” said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY).
Healthcare, Food Security
To meet the healthcare and food security needs the nation is currently facing, one that Gottheimer is in daily contact with North Jersey health officials about, the caucus is prioritizing speeding up testing so it gets to the market quicker; enacting child care assistance policies and regulatory relief to provide childcare coverage during the crisis; enforcing anti-price gouging measures; and deploying federal government medical personnel and equipment capacity, including military sources, to affected areas needing service.
Additionally, the caucus wants passage of a significant infrastructure package to stimulate job growth.
Time for Infrastructure
“This is a great time to get an infrastructure bill passed,” the North Jersey congressman stated. “With historically low rates to borrow money, the time is now to get these types of projects done and create jobs.”
The proposal by the Problem Solvers Caucus follows Gottheimer’s agenda he has pursued on a federal level during the pandemic.
One of the initiatives the congressman worked on was having the Small Business Administration (SBA) name New Jersey a declared disaster state in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Small Business Help
“Throughout this public health crisis, I’ve been talking with small business owners in North Jersey who are concerned about being able to keep their doors open and pay their workers at a time where consumer demand is unpredictable,” said Gottheimer.
This declaration will allow small business owners in the state impacted by the outbreak to apply for resources to help them pay employees, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the impact of the coronavirus. The SBA will provide up to $7 billion in low-interest loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
IRS Extends Deadline
Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service recently extended the deadline for Americans to file and pay their federal taxes 90 days, an issue first advocated by Gottheimer along with Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI).
““We request that tax deadlines continue to be evaluated, including whether further delays to the tax season for individuals or businesses will be necessary.,” the members wrote.