Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5a)
Hundreds of Millions for Every County, Every Community in NJ-5
$292 Million to Sussex, $228 Million to Warren
Urging Negotiators to Reach New Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Deal
Above: Gottheimer joined today by local elected officials and a small business owner — from Sussex and Warren Counties.
Today, Thursday, October 8, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced new, updated reporting on federal COVID-19 relief investment clawed back to every single community in Sussex and Warren Counties in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District to date, as he urges negotiators to return to the table to reach a new bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal to help North Jersey.
Gottheimer announced today that, of the communities within the Fifth District, Sussex County has received an estimated $292 million and Warren County has received an estimated $228 million — all from the bipartisan CARES Act. For the dollars coming to each individual county, this equates to an average of $3,095 for every Fifth District Sussex County resident and $3,427 for every Fifth District Warren County resident.
Gottheimer also highlighted how the CARES Act dollars allocated directly for Sussex and Warren County governments — $1.8 million and $1.38 million respectively — will be dispersed into the counties’ budgets, by each county submitting documentation to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) for reimbursement for the COVID-related costs they incurred during this crisis. Additionally, more than $350,000 of that total lump sum will be used by the county governments for a NJDOH-approved testing plan.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, I’ve said that all of our counties, towns, and municipal governments needed federal resources to help them through this, and that’s something I advocated strongly for with the entire congressional delegation, as well as local leaders throughout Warren and Sussex County and the Governor,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) today. “To be clear: I will never stop fighting to get North Jersey the resources we need. You have my word on that, and I’m sure you’ve seen me out there day in and day out pushing everyone to get a new COVID agreement done.
Gottheimer continued, “The federal investment that’s going to our counties is absolutely critical — but even with hundreds of millions of CARES Act dollars coming back to our county governments and our Fifth District families and businesses, that doesn’t mean this crisis is over or that these issues we are facing are solved. I cannot stress this enough: it is absolutely inexcusable that anyone would walk away from the negotiating table right now, as we’re working overtime to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package in Washington. It’s completely unconscionable to leave Americans without the help they desperately need right now, and I will continue doing everything I can to push a bipartisan deal forward that helps us here in North Jersey.”
Gottheimer was joined during today’s virtual event by Vernon Township Mayor Howard Burrell; Andover Township Mayor Michael Lensak; Sussex Borough Mayor Edward Meyer; and PPP recipient Justin Berkowitz of Berks Furniture and Mattress in Hackettstown, Warren County.
Today’s new COVID-19 relief investment reporting does not include data not yet broken down by county, including the $6.99+ billion dollars in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the $578+ million in EIDL Advance loans clawed back to New Jersey small businesses, as well as the $38+ million in health care grants from HHS to New Jersey for frontline health care centers and testing expansion, among others.
Watch Gottheimer’s press conference today HERE.
Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are here and below:
I’m here today to outline three critical issues:
First, I’m here to announce new, updated reporting on how many federal dollars we’ve clawed back right here to both Sussex and Warren Counties for COVID-19 rescue and relief, all from the bipartisan CARES Act.
Second, the ways in which these millions of dollars can and are being utilized by Sussex and Warren County, our families, our hospitals, and frontline health care workers, small businesses, non-profits, schools, our municipal governments. This includes the additional direct dollars from the CARES Act that we announced with the State this August, including key resources for testing and tracing. We are going to hear from some of our local mayors and a great local small business — all from Sussex and Warren Counties — in a minute.
Third, given the continued COVID health and economic crisis, and the daily impact the pandemic is having on our families, businesses, jobs, and communities, why we absolutely must pass another bipartisan COVID relief package in Washington. I strongly urge the Administration to return to the negotiating table, so, together, we can pass a comprehensive bipartisan COVID package without delay. To the negotiators, on behalf of Members of Congress from both parties and from both houses, let me repeat what I know we all feel: Please don’t walk away. Please don’t quit on the American people.
As we all know, from very early on, from Bergen County to Sussex, Warren, and Passaic, North Jersey was in the eye of the COVID-19 storm.
The counties that make up New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District have had more than 45,200 positive cases of the coronavirus — and, sadly, we’ve had 3,674 deaths.
Bergen County as a whole has had a staggering 22,876 cases; Passaic has had 19,343 cases; Sussex has had 1,553; and Warren has had 1,465 cases, that we know of. Our long-term care facilities and nursing homes were particularly hit hard, comprising nearly half the deaths in the state, including the state-run veterans homes and Andover Subacute.
Given how badly we were hit, from early on during this pandemic, we’ve had safety protocols in place. Thankfully, these precautions have helped, and we’ve also been able to safely begin reopening our businesses and taking vital steps to get our economy back on track.
Of course, with flu season and winter approaching, it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant, to prevent the other shoe from dropping
North Jersey is continuing to face major battles — both the fight to make sure every resident is protected from this virus and the fight to get our local economies, businesses, and communities back on track. It’s not an easy balancing act, but it’s a tightrope we have no choice but to walk.
Today, I’m announcing new, updated federal investment numbers that we’ve clawed back specifically to Sussex and Warren from the bipartisan CARES Act — the major bipartisan economic rescue and relief package passed by Congress and signed into law in March by the President.
I announced an update this past July, and, today, I’m announcing an even greater federal investment for our families, small businesses and nonprofits, schools, frontline health care workers and first responders, hospitals and testing centers, and communities.
In totality, to date, New Jersey’s Fifth District alone has received more than $3.15 billion from the CARES Act.
For the Fifth District residents in each of our four counties, that includes:
- The Sussex County communities I represent have received $292 million.
- The Warren County towns I represent have received $228 million.
- The two towns I represent in Passaic County have received $132 million.
- Bergen County, which was one of the hardest hit counties in the entire country, has received $2.5 billion
For the dollars coming to each individual county, that’s an average of $3,095 for every Fifth District Sussex County resident and $3,427 for every Fifth District resident in Warren County.
These numbers do not include the more than $6.99 billion dollars in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the more than $578 million in EIDL Advance loans clawed back to New Jersey small businesses, as well as the more than $38 million for primary health care grants from HHS to New Jersey for frontline health care centers and testing expansion — all of which are not yet broken down by county.
We compiled these numbers by taking a look at the total number of businesses in our counties receiving investment through the Paycheck Protection Program — or PPP; as well as Economic Impact Payments — or the direct checks; federal enhancement to state unemployment; and housing, education, health care grants, and investment for testing to help fight the virus.
This calculation also includes the direct CARES Act dollars that went from the federal government to the State of New Jersey, and now directly to Sussex and Warren Counties and municipal governments for the direct costs they’ve had during this pandemic, for PPE and additional resources for first responders and frontline public service workers, and investment to expand testing sites to protect those communities — $1.8 million to Sussex and $1.38 to Warren I fought for, for us here.
To put a fine point on this, because there has been plenty of misinformation out there: every single one of the 79 towns in all four counties in the Fifth Congressional District, including Sussex, Warren, Bergen and Passaic Counties, have received significant COVID-19 federal funding — for direct investments to our towns and counties and to families, businesses, nonprofits, first responders, and hospitals.
This federal CARES Act investment is currently in the process of being dispersed, which brings me to my second point today: how exactly Sussex and Warren Counties will be getting these federal dollars directly back in to help their budgets
The Sussex and Warren County governments will each be submitting documentation to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management for reimbursement for the COVID-related costs they incurred during this crisis.
Additionally, more than $350,000 of that total lump sum will be used by the county governments for a NJDOH-approved testing plan, which is especially important now that we are entering the fall, with flu season and winter right around the corner.
To everyone listening: as a friendly reminder, please be sure to get your flu shot as soon as possible. It’s something the chief medical officers of our local hospitals keep reiterating to me.
Since the beginning of this crisis, I’ve said that all of our counties, towns, and municipal governments needed federal resources to help them through this, and that’s something I advocated strongly for with the entire congressional delegation, as well as local leaders throughout Warren and Sussex County to all the senators and the Governor.
To be clear: I will never stop fighting to get North Jersey the resources we need. You have my word on that, and I’m sure you’ve seen me out there day in and day out pushing everyone to get a new COVID agreement done.
The federal investment that’s going to our counties is absolutely critical — but even with hundreds of millions of CARES Act dollars coming back to our county governments and our Fifth District families and businesses, that doesn’t mean this crisis is over or that these issues we’re facing are solved.
This brings me to my final point, which I cannot stress enough: it is absolutely inexcusable that anyone would walk away from the negotiating table right now, as we’re working overtime to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package in Washington.
This has been an incredibly difficult time for our nation and New Jersey. Now, more than ever we need to come together and seek common ground — not further division.
The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus — which I co-chair — 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans strong — unveiled our “March To Common Ground” framework a couple weeks back to help push negotiators to get back to the table for another COVID relief package to help families, small businesses, and states and local communities.
We came together and developed this framework after extensive listening to constituents over the six weeks prior.
In light of the urgent needs facing millions of Americans, families, and small businesses, the framework lays out funding for key relief programs for the next six months, except for state and local funding which extends for a full year.
What we know right now is that families and businesses throughout North Jersey are saying the same thing: they want help getting through the COVID crisis, not the same old partisan obstructionism and political games.
We also know that we’ve had more than 210,000 Americans die from the virus. Millions have lost their jobs and their ability to put food on the table. Thousands of small businesses have closed their doors.
So, with there being an incredible amount of support — on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress — to reach a new bipartisan COVID deal, I was incredibly frustrated when I heard the news earlier this week.
With that in mind, I urge all the negotiators — including the President — to stay at the table.
Do not quit on the American people.
It’s completely unconscionable to leave Americans without the help they desperately need right now, and I will continue doing everything I can to push a bipartisan deal forward that helps us here in North Jersey.
As we focus on these goals of getting more federal COVID relief investment out to those who need it, I’m honored to be joined today by several leaders from our local community who, I know, join me in this fight.
We’ll hear a few words from them all now, both about how these federal dollars coming back to Warren and Sussex Counties are helping, but also why we need a new bipartisan deal done.
Mayor Howard Burrell, of Vernon Township in Sussex County — you’ve had 19 businesses in Vernon receive more $100,000 from the PPP forgivable small business loan program. I’m fighting to ensure our small businesses can receive a second round of PPP in the next COVID relief deal — something that was included in our bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus framework and the new COVID bill the House passed last week. How can that help a community like yours.
Mayor Michael Lensak, of Andover Township in Sussex County — where you have had several businesses claw back more than $100,000 in PPP — on top of the hundreds of millions of federal CARES Act dollars that have come back to Sussex families and local businesses, what do you think we need to include in the bipartisan COVID package we’re trying to hammer out right now?
Sussex Borough Mayor Edward Meyer, we know 18 businesses in your borough have received more than $100,000 in PPP to help their businesses recover and keep employees on payroll, but looking at the $1.8 million of CARES Act investment that is being allocated to Sussex County — directly to the county budget to help cover everything from testing to PPE to supporting first responders and testing — how can those dollars go to impact the lives of your residents right now?
Now, I’m proud to be joined by a fantastic local small business: Justin Berkowitz of Berks Furniture and Mattress in Hackettstown in Warren County.
Originally Hackettstown Trading Post, they rebranded and reopened back in 2012 as Berks Furniture, which Justin runs with his sister Amy — serving residents in Warren, Sussex, and Morris Counties. They’re third generation retailers, and their father and uncle, Joel and Jerry, owned the Hackettstown Trading Post for more than 50 years. We are incredibly proud to have them, more than half a century later, in Hackettstown.
Justin was having difficulty securing a PPP loan early on in this crisis, when his business was down 80% in April and May. After contacting my office, we were able to help him secure his PPP loan and he was then able to make payments over the past months, which helped him bring back all of their employees and even hire an additional employee. Justin, I know you’re standing with me in this fight to allow our small businesses to access a second round of PPP. Tell us about your business, why a second round of PPP could help, and how supply chain issues have been affecting you at Berks Furniture?
Today’s announcement comes from a great deal of cooperation — from across the aisle and from every corner of this great State — to ensure we get federal dollars back to our county governments, our families, our small businesses, to help our workers, and to ensure our local communities get through this.
To reiterate: to date, the Fifth District portion of Sussex County has received $292 million from the CARES Act, and, of Warren County: $228 million.
We must continue that cooperation though, back in Washington, and get a new bipartisan COVID relief deal done.
As we’ve seen since March, here in New Jersey and throughout our country, we are stronger when we all come together.
This virus and all its impacts do not see age, race, religion, gender, or political party. It affects us all.
Fighting COVID isn’t a Democratic or Republican fight – it’s an American fight. It’s a battle I will continue fighting for North Jersey.
We live in the greatest country in the world. We will beat this virus, because I know that our best days are always ahead of us.
Please stay healthy — stay safe.
May God bless you and God bless these United States of America.