U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today voted in favor of H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan, comprehensive relief and stimulus legislation put forth by Democrats to confront the dual threats of the continuing pandemic and its economic fallout.
“At few moments in American history has decisive action been more necessary. Americans have awarded Democrats with full control of the government to lift the nation from its knees. They trusted us to deliver. Today we are delivering,” said Rep. Pascrell. “This passage represents the first major step in President Biden’s plan to move us past the last four years and into the future. We cannot underscore the impact of direct stimulus checks, aid to struggling state governments, expansion of vaccination services, help for reopening schools, and expanded unemployment insurance. Today we protect pensions, we stand up for small businesses, we provide a wage increase for tens of millions. Through this legislation, we begin America’s rebirth from the embers of this pandemic and show, conclusively, the power of government to do good in peoples’ lives.
“Republican opposition for aid to Americans in need is no surprise. And it does not hinder us. This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation Congress will pass this generation. Most of us will never cast a vote that will more impact the fate of neighbors and nation. We carry that burden in passing this bill so the engine of America can roar again.”
American Rescue Plan Impact on New Jersey and NJ-09
The American Rescue Plan will have enormous positive consequences for the Garden State through the State and Local Relief Fund. The fund will send approximate $10 billion to New Jersey, which includes approximately $259.7 million to Bergen County, $130.4 million to Hudson County, and $97.4 million to Passaic County.
Allocation for NJ-09. By estimates compiled by our office, New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District’s 35 cities and towns will receive a total of approximately $175,351,059 from the State and Local Relief Fund in the American Rescue Plan. Breakdown:
Paterson: $63,716,304; Passaic City: $33,975,359; Clifton: $28,569,984; Kearny: $4,033,218; Teaneck: $3,957,186; Fort Lee: $3,792,255; Garfield: $3,123,981; Englewood: $2,789,991; Cliffside Park: $2,567,102; Lyndhurst: $2,251,286; Secaucus: $2,150,598; Palisades Park: $2,034,880; Elmwood Park: $1,961,304; Hawthorne: $1,842,149; Rutherford: $1,797,944; North Arlington: $1,540,576; Tenafly: $1,419,750; Saddle Brook: $1,332,225; Edgewater: $1,312,775; Ridgefield Park: $1,267,294; Hasbrouck Heights: $1,178,001; Wallington: $1,129,278; Ridgefield: $1,097,352; Little Ferry: $1,054,916; East Rutherford: $951,173; Wood-Ridge: $912,970; Leonia: $889,528; Cresskill: $851,477; Haledon: $814,640; Carlstadt: $602,360; Prospect Park: $573,971; Englewood Cliffs: $525,935; Moonachie: $265,423; South Hackensack: $239,195; Teterboro: $6,680.
School districts in NJ-09 are set to receive an estimated $358,332,255.
Key legislative provisions in the American Rescue Plan
- Stimulus checks: Guarantees a new round of $1,400 direct payments to Americans. It also provides payments of $1,400 per child and adult dependents, including college students and disabled adults.
- Unemployment insurance: Provides an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government through August 29, 2021, an increase of $100 per week from the current amount. It also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for the self-employed and those who do not qualify for standard unemployment benefits, and builds on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which tacks on extra weeks of state benefits, through August 29, 2021. To facilitate this, the bill directs $2 billion to the U.S. Department of Labor to sustain unemployment systems.
- Family assistance: Expands the child tax credit to $3,000 per child up to age 17 and $3,600 for children under age 6 for 2021. The bill also allows families to claim up to half of their related child care expenses and enhances the earned income tax credit (EITC).
- Child care: Invests $39 billion in a grant program for child care providers, directing them to prioritize relief for families struggling to pay tuition. It also provides $1 billion for the Head Start program and increases funding to support child care services for low-income families.
- Pension plans: Offers financial support for multi-employer pension plans to ensure millions of working Americans are not left behind after a lifetime of service.
- $15 minimum wage: Increases the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and directs $150 million toward the Department of Labor for the implementation of Covid-related worker protection programs.
- Money for school reopening and higher education: Supports the safe reopening of schools, through investments in ventilation system upgrades, reduced class sizes, and personal protective equipment to help make public schools safer. It also directs $40 billion in grants to higher education and requires institutions that receive funding to dedicate at least half of it to emergency financial aid grants for students.
- State and local aid: Directs $350 billion total toward state, local, tribal, and territorial funding. It also provides $50 billion for reimbursing state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for their covid-related expenses, including vaccinations, PPE, National Guard deployment, and disinfecting public facilities.
- Vaccines, testing, and tracing: Activates $46 billion to detect and diagnose Covid-19. The legislation also gives $7.5 billion in funding for the CDC to promote, monitor, and track Covid-19 vaccines, $1 billion for the CDC to strengthen public confidence in the vaccine, and $5.2 billion to support more vaccine research and manufacturing.
- Public health: Invests $7.6 billion to bolster the public health workforce and invests $100 million for the Medical Reserve Corps. It also provides $7.6 billion for community health centers for covid-related activities and invests $25 billion to assist vulnerable communities and shrink disparities in health care access.
- Resources for families and children: Adds $5 billion into an existing Pandemic-EBT program to help low-income families with food assistance, expands the age of eligibility for the Child and Adult Care Food Program at emergency homeless shelters for young adults, and puts millions of dollars toward programs meant to address child abuse and neglect and domestic violence. And it channels $4.5 billion into the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help families cover the costs of heating and cooling their homes.
- Increased SNAP benefits: Continues the 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through September 2021.
- Paycheck Protection Program: Expands eligibility for the PPP for small businesses and invests an additional $7.25 billion towards the PPP. It also provides $10 billion to support small businesses.
- Funds for economic disaster loans: Directs $15 billion toward the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for businesses impacted by the pandemic.
- Major industry support: Invests $25 billion toward a new program at the Small Business Administration that would support restaurants and directs $15 billion toward a payroll support program established under the CARES Act that was created to assist airline employees.
- Defense Production Act: Directs $10 billion in spending under the Defense Production Act, which will allow President Biden to significantly increase production of PPE, medical supplies and masks, vaccines, tests, and other life-saving materials.
- Rental and housing assistance: Provides $25 billion toward emergency assistance to renters and $10 billion to provide assistance to homeowners on fronts including mortgage payments and property taxes. It also puts $5 billion in assistance to help communities provide shelter to the homeless.
- Public transit and transportation: Directs $30 billion to support public transit systems and invests $3 billion toward the Economic Development Administration, which provides grants to communities that are struggling financially.
- Food supply chain and agriculture: Invests $3.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to facilitate food transactions and provide grants and loans to farmers.
- Support for veterans: Invests $13.5 billion in health care services and support to veterans. It also provides $500 million for the U.S. Veterans Administration to send money to states to upgrade and enhance homes, and $250 million in one-time emergency payments to support veterans’ facilities.
- Paid leave for federal and postal workers: Provides $570 million in emergency paid leave for federal employees and postal workers.
- Government oversight: Invests $117 million towards the Government Accountability Office, the Pandemic Response and Accountability Committee, and other oversight entities to ensure pandemic relief funds are not misused.
Since the outset of the pandemic, Rep. Pascrell has worked to secure millions in emergency federal funding to aid New Jersey in its fight against the virus. He helped pass the CARES Act in March of 2020 and the HEROES Act later that year to provide more immediate relief to every state and local government across the United States and needed relief for vital workers like first responders, health workers, and teachers keeping us safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.