Sen. Bob Menendez said the $2 trillion federal stimulus deal will provide much needed help to New Jersey in its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic .
As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the select bipartisan team negotiating the bill, Menendez was “relieved” a deal was able to be reached.
“We have a bipartisan deal that gives New Jersey and the nation a fighting chance at defeating COVID-19 and restoring the promise of our economy,” said the senator.
By the Numbers
The package includes $260 billion for workers, including the extension and expansion of unemployment insurance; $377 billion for small business; $150 billion for hospitals and healthcare facilities; $150 billion stabilization fund established for state and local governments; and $230 billion for emergency appropriations.
“First and foremost, this package will deliver billions of dollars of aid and loans to hospitals so that our doctors, nurses, and frontline health care workers have the resources they need to conduct testing, treat the sick, and ultimately save lives,” said Menendez. “The wealth of our nation hinges on the health of our people, and there’s simply no path to long-term economic prosperity that does not begin with defeating COVID-19.”
Urgent State Need
The senator stressed the legislation responds to the urgent needs of states like New Jersey, which has already spent billions of dollars battling the nation’s second-highest number of COVID-19 cases.
“This deal…will ensure New Jersey’s state and local governments are not bankrupted by the battle against a global pandemic while maintaining essential critical services, like emergency response, during this critical time,” he said.
Aid to small businesses owners and workers suffering as a result of the social distancing will include direct payments to help working families. Workers will benefit from improvements to unemployment benefits, where, for the first time ever, employers will be able to furlough workers instead of outright laying them off, enabling them to keep their health benefits while receiving an additional four months of enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government.
Return to Jobs
“This will not only keep working people afloat, but ensure they have jobs to return to once this crisis is behind us,” said Menendenz.
“We also won an unprecedented $377 billion pool of economic aid for America’s small businesses,” stated the senator. “These low-cost and forgivable loans will help New Jersey’s restaurants, retailers, and other local businesses make payroll, pay rent, protect jobs and ultimately drive our recovery.”
While it is a large number, Menedez believes the congress is responding to this crisis quickly but responsibly as well.
“When spending a trillion-plus dollars of American taxpayer money, we cannot afford to get it wrong and we must always stand up for what’s right,” he said. “There is much more work to do to ensure the safety and economic wellbeing of our residents and communities.”
A Deeper Look At the COVID-19 Federal Stimulus Package
- $260 BILLION FOR WORKERS. An extended and expanded Unemployment Insurance program increases the maximum unemployment benefit amount by $600 per week above one’s base unemployment compensation benefit through July and ensures workers who are laid-off or out of work, on average, will receive their full pay for four months. It ensures workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy.
- DIRECT PAYMENTS TO FAMILIES. $1,200 for most individuals, $2,400 for couples and $500 per child.
- $377 BILLION FOR SMALL BUSINESS. These funds will be used for forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and non-profits so they can maintain their existing workforce and help pay other expenses during this crisis, like rent, a mortgage or utilities.
- $150 BILLION FOR HOSPITALS, HEALTH CARE FACILITIES. The monies will fund a grant program for hospitals and healthcare providers, personal and protective equipment for healthcare workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, emergency operation centers and more. Additional funding is dedicated to increased Medicare payments to all hospitals and providers to ensure that they receive the funding they need during this crisis, and new investments in our country’s Strategic National Stockpile, surge capacity and medical research into COVID-19.
- $150 BILLION STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT STABILIZATION FUND. This funding will be a temporary lifeline to states and communities that are seeing huge budget holes that have been created by the economic slowdown and response to COVID-19. The fund will keep communities going and ensure they have the resources to respond to this public health emergency.
- $230 BILLION “EMERGENCY APPROPRIATIONS. Funding ranges from billions for hard-hit airports, increased aid to municipalities, funding for child care, nutrition for seniors, housing assistance, support for local schools and colleges, and for the National Guard to support the hardest hit states and territories.