North Jersey Representatives voted in the affirmative on the American Rescue Plan Feb. 27, arguing it would support New Jersey residents alongside all Americans.
The bill is a $1.9 trillion emergency coronavirus stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden featuring increase financial aid to American families alongside states and local communities.
Specifically, it would include a $1,400 stimulus payment to low- and middle-income Americans, and would provide an additional $400 per week for unemployed workers during the public health crisis.
“Relief checks to families who are hurting, investments in more vaccines and expanded distribution, unemployment benefits to those in need, and much more,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer upon passage of the bill.
Need for Relief Remains ‘Stark’
Rep. Mikie Sherrill highlighted the provisions she believes is needed to increase vaccine distribution, aid small businesses, and provide for New Jersey families. The bill provides $20 billion to establish a national vaccination program and improve the administration and distribution of vaccinations as well as $51 billion to expand testing and contact tracing.
“As I visit communities in North Jersey, the need for additional COVID relief is stark,” stated the congresswoman. “It will help ensure Americans can pay their bills, stay in their homes, and feed their children.”
Additionally, Sherrill noted it would help small businesses, as it would include $7.25 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and $25 billion for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Local governments alongside the state would benefit, too, according to Rep. Tom Malinowski, who said the legislation would provide vital funding to these entities. The bill includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments, providing resources for state and local governments to protect the jobs of front line public workers, effectively distributing the vaccine, scaling testing, reopening schools, and maintaining other vital services.
“The legislation passed by the House provides the resources necessary to get Americans through this crisis and crush the pandemic so our economy can recover,” said Rep. Malinowski. “Importantly for New Jersey, this bill includes vital funding for our state and local governments to help keep critical workers on the job.”
For Rep. Albio Sires, the American Rescue Plan lays out a bold roadmap of the road to recovery to get the state’s economy moving again.
Helping the Economy
“Hard-working Americans who are struggling because of this pandemic can not wait any longer for this crucial relief,” said Sires. “The American Rescue Plan is a far-reaching relief bill that will bring much-needed resources to residents of the 8th District and across the country.”
Sherrill added, “Ten million fewer Americans are employed right now compared to before the pandemic—a larger level of job loss than at any point during the Great Recession. We need to provide genuine relief right now because Americans can’t afford years of economic downturn and hardship as a result of the pandemic.”
The bill was passed as the Johnson & Johnson one shot COVID-19 vaccine was being approved. The two events, according to Rep. Donald Payne Jr., shows hope emerging a year after the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in New Jersey.
“With several new vaccines on the market, we are getting closer to the herd immunity necessary to reopen our society safely,” he said. “But Americans still need assistance to pay for food, housing and medicine during these difficult economic times.”