Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr., call for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue its support for two COVID-19 testing sites in Bergen and Monmouth counties was heard.
Gov. Phil Murphy at his May 22 press briefing said FEMA will extend its stay in the state until the end of June and will raise testing capabilities.
Payne has lead the effort for the he agency’s support in reaching a testing capacity of 25,000 tests per day by the end of June.
Paramus, Holmdel Sites
In a letter addressed to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, Rep. Payne, Jr. argued New Jersey was on the frontlines of the pandemic, and had been since the start. He called upon FEMA’s “locally executed, state managed, and federally supported” mantra, saying it must be honored to continue support for the testing locations.
“Federal support is critical to decrease the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey,” he said. “We are seeing signs that social distancing is working. When we increase testing, we will be able to identify the spread of the disease and limit the amount of new cases in the state. We need to see this fight to the finish and federal funding of those sites will allow us to do that.”
The letter gained the support of New Jersey’s entire Congressional delegation, with U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker as well as Reps. Andrew Kim, Donald Norcross, Albio Sires, Frank Pallone, Jr., Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Tom Malinowski, Bill Pascrell, Josh Gottheimer, Jeff Van Drew, and Chris Smith.
Alignment with Voting Record
Payne, Jr.’s call to FEMA was aligned with his voting history in the House regarding coronavirus aid packages. He voted to approve all five coronavirus-related bills in the house, including the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
He signaled support for the most recent bill, as well. The $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act would provide $1 trillion to state and local governments to help with coronavirus-related costs, $200 billion in hazard pay to essential workers, and $75 billion to bolster testing and contact tracing for COVID-19.
Including in the HEROES Act is another set of stimulus payments for low- and middle-income Americans. Eligible people would receive another $1,200 payment, up to $6,000 per household.
Furthering Goals to Protect to New Jersey
Rep. Payne, Jr., chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Recovery of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has been in constant contact with FEMA officials in his chairman capacity to ensure aid for New Jersey’s citizens the American people.
He previously introduced legislation to provide hazard pay to federal frontline workers across the nation, including TSA agents, daycare workers, and veteran healthcare workers.