Gottheimer, Pascrell Praise Urgent Aid to Veterans Homes
After calls for action from members, VA dispatching personnel to Paramus veterans home besieged by COVID-19, other in-need spots
North Jersey, April 15, 2020
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) reacted positively to the announcement by Governor Murphy that the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) is sending 90 nurses to Garden State veterans’ facilities, including the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus as the residence continues to face a deadly outbreak of COVID-19 that has claimed the lives of at least 24 veterans. The VA’s move directly follows request for their help by the congressmen last week.
“The loss of life at the Veterans Home in Paramus is an unspeakable tragedy for our communities,” said Reps. Pascrell and Gottheimer. “This assistance from the Veterans Administration will be absolutely critical to limiting further loss of life and protecting the veterans, residents, and staff at the VHP. Governor Murphy’s coordination with the VA was decisive and will help save lives in Paramus and other facilities under increased threat. We thank Secretary Wilkie and will continue to push the VA to send any available personnel and equipment to protect the Paramus residents and facility staff. And we reiterate our call for a full and complete accounting on how this was allowed to happen.”
Reps. Gottheimer and Pascrell have been active in protecting Paramus residents. On April 10, Reps. Gottheimer and Pascrell wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie pressing his department to take whatever measures necessary to protect the veterans and residents in Paramus. In a second letter sent April 10, the congressmen called on VA Inspector General Michael Missal to open an immediate federal investigation into the conditions that resulted in so much loss of life.
On April 14, Governor Murphy announced the additional VA personnel at a coronavirus briefing in Trenton. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also announced several actions, including care for non-veteran patients in New Jersey, as part of the VA's ‘Fourth Mission’ actions to help Americans respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.