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Frontline Workers, Aid to States Need to be Focus of Next COVID-19 legislation: Rep. Josh Gottheimer

Rep. Josh Gottheimer wants the next round of COVID-19 federal aid to focus on frontline workers in coordination with monies for states, counties, towns, and local communities.

“I’m fighting to make sure we’re protected from this virus, that we get our local economies back on track, and that our state, our counties, and our towns have all the resources they need,” said Gottheimer, whose district has recorded more than 29,000 cases and 1,700 deaths. 

The congressman, in a video conference with representatives from New York and Pennsylvania, stated while New York and New Jersey are the epicenters of this pandemic, they are not receiving the appropriate level of funding.

‘Not Proportional”

“Federal aid is not proportional to the impact, meaning we’re not getting the help we need,” Gottheimer declared. “In the first $30 billion of federal coronavirus aid for hospitals, New Jersey and New York only received about 9% of the money, despite having 45% of the nation’s cases.”

The congressman is leading an effort from the New York and New Jersey House delegations to request a new fund of at least $40 billion for states based upon their share of the national infection rate.

Gottheimer is working to get states and local communities reimbursed for personal protection equipment and other supplies outlays, which are then being sent to staff and residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities that are “in dire need.”

Aiding Frontline Workers

“Those on the frontlines right now are the workers in all our local communities: the frontline medical workers and EMTs that our counties and towns employ, as well as our law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, and the essential public service workers who’re keeping us going throughout this crisis,” said the congressman.

“I’m hearing first-hand how hard our local communities are working to battle this pandemic…disregarding our states and communities, their workers, and the resources they need is simply not an option.” 

In that vein, the congressman is working closely with GOP State Sen. Steve Oroho in a request for New Jersey to send federal CARES Act dollars to Warren and Sussex Counties as federal funding formulas did not distribute Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Solutions Grants to those counties.

Work in Washington

As part of President Donald Trump’s task force on reopening the economy, he delivered health benchmarks to Congressional leadership and the White House for consideration in the next phases of coronavirus response. 

Additionally, the congressman promoted the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus’ Reopening and Recovery “Back to Work” Checklist, which offered a data-driven, regional, industry-by-industry reopening approach. Gottheimer is a co-chair of the Caucus.

Working with Mayors

Closer to home, Gottheimer is hosting weekly video conference calls with mayors throughout Warren, Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen Counties, to hear their concerns and update them on federal resources and economic assistance available. From those conferences, the congressman is working to acquire the needed resources to support their efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, particularly focused on the needs of long-term care facilities.

Additionally, Gottheimer is working on emergency grant investments for the Assistance for Firefighters Grant program. The grant, currently open for applications, is specifically for Fire and EMS Departments to purchase and/or reimburse the purchase of PPE, such as eye protection, N95s and surgical masks, gloves, gowns, footwear covers, protective coveralls, and costs of decontaminating PPE. 

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