Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-CD5) emphasized non-partisanship and outlined a number of expenditures under the historic $ 1.9 trillion aid package, COVID-19, on Wednesday. Gottheimer, as part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, began his discussion with polls claiming 75% of Americans and a large majority of Republican voters are in favor of the massive bill.
The invoice is used for a variety of COVID-related purposes. “While the House, as we speak, is on the verge of adopting a new COVID relief package aimed at putting vaccines in guns, dollars in the pockets of hard working families helping our small businesses keep our children safe to school Bringing back, relieving our restaurants, protecting our firefighters: Police and firefighters remain busy, and providing resources to local communities is a great support to state and local governments with revenue shortages. It also contains resources that can be used for certain types of infrastructure, which is a major priority for New Jersey, ”said Gottheimer.
A few key features were highlighted, once again preceded by support across the aisle. “As co-chair of the non-partisan problem-solver Caucus, building this non-partisan approach is key. According to today’s polls by POLITICO and Morning Consult across the country, 75% of Americans support the package and nearly 60% of Republican voters. so it has pretty broad support from both parties. Pew Research found yesterday that the majority of pressured Republican families are in favor of the new COVID Relief Act. “
“With the introduction of the vaccine, we can all see some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gottheimer. “I hope we’re optimistic that brighter days are ahead of us.”
The Congressman said over $ 60 billion will be used to expedite vaccinations for critical populations. “New groups like educators are being added so we can meet the president’s goal of getting any adult who wants a vaccine by the end of May.”
Gottheimer said he understands how the pandemic has negatively impacted the bottom line for communities and district governments. He said 40% of every dollar would be allocated to local governments, “guaranteed instead of just coming into the state and not sinking.”
Regarding his fifth district, he said, “Every city government in the fifth district” will receive resources through this package. Of those in CD5, Bergen County gets $ 313 million, which adds up to cities and counties. Two cities in Passaic County in CD5 will receive $ 101 million, Sussex will receive $ 36.5 million and Warren will receive $ 26.93 million. The congressman said that once the law is signed, the money will be paid out in two waves. The first half within 60 days of entry into force and the second half a year afterwards.
The money sent to the local level can be used in response to COVID and economic impacts, housekeeping, nonprofits, broadband investments, water and sanitation, and to ensure key employees can keep working. Gottheimer, whose district spans urban and rural areas, emphasized investments in broadband infrastructure. Broadband and high-speed internet was “not a luxury,” and with so many New Jersey residents needing internet access to do essential daily business such as education, telehealth, and medical visits, Gottheimer described it as “essential in the 21st century”.
In terms of direct stimulus money, $ 1,400 would go to direct payments to individuals receiving less than $ 75,000 and $ 2,800 to joint applicants earning less than $ 150,000 per year. “This benefit expires completely” for individuals earning $ 80,000 per year and joint applicants earning $ 160,000. Adult relatives are also entitled to direct payments.
Gottheimer said approximately 7% of New Jersey residents were unemployed, and the new package extends the additional federal improvement of $ 300 per week through September 6.
The bill contains an important provision that I fought for to give our residents tax breaks. Those who received unemployment benefits last year were able to waive federal income tax on the first $ 10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 for households under $ 150,000. This will help ensure that thousands of unemployed New Jersey workers don’t get a surprise tax burden this year. New Jersey has already waived those taxes, and now it’s about federal taxes. “
Gottheimer said around 40% of Americans didn’t know their unemployment benefits were taxable. “With this tax break, we’re helping residents pay their bills and protect their families in times of crisis.”
“Many rural parts of my district do not have a satisfactory broadband connection, many parts have no connection. So I am proud that this new package reflects a bipartisan effort led by me that is fighting for dedicated investments to improve broadband connectivity. The bill includes $ 10 billion to help states and municipalities invest in broadband infrastructure – and I’ll get a letter to the governor to work with me on it right away. This is on top of the $ 7.2 billion spent on schools and libraries to improve broadband activity. “
The bill also includes over $ 20 billion earmarked for rental assistance, homelessness, emergency shelter vouchers, mortgage and utility assistance, and more. “All areas that are very, very important,” said Gottheimer.
The Congressman said that critical laws have been passed for “strike teams” of clinical and non-clinical personnel to aid nursing homes and long-term care facilities during outbreaks. With more than 26 million Americans facing food insecurity, the bill would provide additional funding for SNAP, WIC, and summer school meals. Gottheimer said the demand for food banks and pantries had increased by 50%.
“This is what I will continue to focus on to make sure our schools and communities actually provide these benefits to our children. This is a very big deal and I will be working with and sending correspondence with all the school principals to make sure they have these programs in place for the summer to help our children. “
Money is provided for child carers to get parents back to work. Gottheimer said the child tax credit will be increased. “These new enhanced benefits are fully refundable for the first time. They are earnings-based and expire after individuals earn more than $ 75,000 per year and collectively submit $ 150,000.” He believes this will help reduce the national child poverty rate “by 40%”.
Gottheimer said he had campaigned for the teachers to be vaccinated “immediately” and for the children to go back to school as soon as possible. The auxiliary bill would set aside $ 130 billion for K-12 schools to give them the resources to get back on track. Money was also available for higher education, but Gottheimer emphasized that children are being left behind because they do not go to school and that the experience has affected their mental health. “The bottom line is that we have to get our children back to school.” The bill “provided serious resources to help our school districts maintain the safety I believe needed to get our children back and ensure teachers are vaccinated.”
When asked how taxpayers who became unemployed last year and had already filed their taxes should use the new exemptions, Gottheimer’s office replied that the IRS and Treasury Department would soon provide new information.
Gottheimer concluded by saying he was optimistic that the bill will help revitalize the state and all aspects of the New Jersey communities.
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