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State Sen. Steve Sweeney Urges Moratorium on Payments During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney urged the federal government to offer some protections to the state’s citizens as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continued.

Sweeney called for full or partial two-month moratorium on mortgage, home equity, loan, utility and insurance payments. Additionally, he wants federal funding to help cover costs connected to Medicaid, unemployment insurance, municipal debt shortfalls and laptops for K-12 students.

Partial Freeze

Sweeney urged full or partial freezes for: bank loans, mortgage payments, and lines of credit for small businesses; utility, cell phone, telephone, and internet bills; auto and college loans, including those held by private lenders; and health, home, and auto insurance premiums.

Many of the proposals echoed steps he wished to take in New Jersey, and Sweeney noted the economic lockdowns in surrounding states were necessary, but taxing, efforts to stop spread of the coronavirus.

 “Tens of millions of Americans will not be collecting paychecks and businesses will not be making sales, but monthly bills are still due,” he said.

New Strategies Needed

Sweeney argued in order to ensure the partial economic shutdown did not develop into a long-term recession, federal assistance would be required as an unprecedented public health emergency which required new strategies.

“With the economy effectively taking a two-month pause, we need a two-month pause on fixed monthly bills as well.”

To ensure valid participation in the program, any state receiving such aid should be required to freeze spending on new programs unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was only right.

“This crisis is putting our communities, businesses and institutions to the test. We need to rise to the challenge and take these comprehensive steps to maintain a sense of order, security and confidence that this crisis will pass, and we will come out stronger on the other side,” Sweeney said.

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