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Pallone Statement on House Passage of Third Coronavirus Pandemic Response Legislation

March 27, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third major legislation passed by Congress to respond to the coronavirus pandemic:

“Today, more help is on the way. The CARES Act provides essential assistance to the American people, health care workers, hospitals, small businesses and state and local governments that have been seriously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  This legislation provides much needed financial relief to laid-off or furloughed workers through increased and extended unemployment insurance so they will continue to receive a paycheck in the weeks and months ahead. It also puts money in the pockets of struggling Americans, and provides grants and loans to small businesses to help them better weather the ongoing economic storm.  

“As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelms our health care workers and hospitals, the legislation includes $100 billion to our hospitals and $16 billion for personal protective equipment and other resources for our courageous health care workers so they can safely treat patients. Health care professionals are on the front lines, and we must continue to work to ensure they are protected and have the resources they need to safely do their jobs.  

“I’m pleased that this package contains $300 million in funds specifically designated to help fishing communities who have incurred significant economic losses as a result of this pandemic. In my district in New Jersey, the recreational and commercial fishing industry is vital to our coastal communities up and down the Jersey Shore. 

“Finally, I’m glad to see that Democrats were successful in removing a provision in the initial draft of the Senate bill that would have provided a $3 billion bailout to the oil and gas industry. This provision had no place in this legislation.

“The CARES Act takes a significant step in protecting the health of all Americans and providing peace of mind during this time of economic uncertainty, but there is a lot more work to do. In future legislation, we must ensure affordable treatment for all, expand distance learning programs and access to the internet for low-income Americans, protect consumers from price gouging and prevent critical services from being shut off during this crisis.”

The CARES Act includes key provisions that give:

$260 billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: The bill includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.

Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans:  The bill provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.

More Than $375 billion in Small Business Relief:  The bill provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll, $17 billion for debt relief for current and new Small Business Administration borrowers, and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.

The CARES Act includes critical provisions to help New Jerseyans during the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation provides funding that will:

Support New Jersey’s Economy and Pandemic Response: The State of New Jersey will directly receive an estimated $3.4 billion from the economic stimulus package’s state relief fund.

Fund New Jersey Transit: New Jersey’s transit system will receive an estimated $1.25 billion to support operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Amtrak will also receive over $1 billion to support its ability to operate passenger rail service on Northeast Corridor, state-supported, and long-distance routes, and to protect Amtrak workers.

Support Education: School districts and higher education institutions in New Jersey are expected to receive an estimated $380 million from the $2 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus package. K-12 districts are set to receive $310 million to help educators and students transition on online and remote learning. School districts and colleges hardest hit by COVID-19 will receive $69 million through the “Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.”

Protect Our Communities: New Jersey has received $53.7 million to enable the state and local governments to rapidly respond to COVID-19 and the economic and housing impacts caused by it. The funding will allow expansion of community health facilities, child care centers, food banks, and senior services. 

Support Emergency Housing: New Jersey has also received $26.5 million to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. In addition, New Jersey will soon receive over $1.8 million to help the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Bolster Child Care:  New Jersey is estimated to receive more than $62 million for child care and early childhood development under the Child Care and Development Block Grant program. 

Keep New Jerseyans Healthy: New Jersey will receive at least $15.4 million to help state and local public health agencies prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Protect First Responders: State and local law enforcement in New Jersey will receive $18.4 million to acquire personal protection equipment and other medical supplies.

Provide Election Assistance: New Jersey will receive over $10 million for election preparation. The funding will increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the safety of voting in-person by providing additional voting facilities and more poll-workers.

Provide Help for Utility Bills: New Jersey will receive more than $12 million through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to provide help New Jerseyans who qualify pay their heating and cooling bills.

Assist Manufacturers: New Jersey will receive over $1.2 million through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the supply chain and expanding markets.

Support the Arts and Humanities: New Jersey will receive $653,700 through the National Endowment of the Humanities and $494,400 through National Endowment of the Arts to provide grants and support arts organizations, museums, libraries, and other organizations during the coronavirus pandemic.

A complete summary of the CARES Act is available here. It is the third legislative package Congress has passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Pallone helped author the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that included support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for affected small businesses to lessen the economic blow of this public health emergency. It was signed into law on March 18. He also helped pass an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package that was passed and signed into law earlier this month. The State of New Jersey is directly receiving at least $15.6 million from that funding package.