WASHINGTON, DC -  As New Jersey continues in its shut down, state and federal legislators know economic recovery represents a critical aspect of recovery.  Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman John Garamendi (CA-03), Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Congressman Paul Cook (CA-08) introduced a bill regarding awards for military construction contracts.

The "Put Our Neighbors to Work Act" would help local trades when it comes to construction projects. In New Jersey, the act would serve to alert local contractors who wish to bid on work at the Joint Base. The initiative targets smaller businesses and gives them more of an equal footing with larger companies.

Among other things, the proposed legislation establishes local hire requirements. Preference for military construction contracts will be companies who certify that at least 51 percent of the employees reside in-state. In the alternative, workers may live within a 60-mile radius of the project location.

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“Working New Jerseyans have been hit hard during this economic crisis, and we need to do everything we can to help them recover,” said Kim. “This bill would help ensure that the money from construction projects coming to our Joint Base stays in our community. It’ll result in jobs and opportunities for our local building trades, and a path forward for so many working families across our state.”

Over one million New Jersey residents have filed for unemployment benefits amidst the pandemic and shut down o the state to all but essential work. This legislation could result in new opportunities for small businesses in the building trades.

"This unprecedented public health crisis has upended our way of life and caused severe economic distress for families and communities across the country,” said Congressman Cook. “The Put Our Neighbors to Work Act will increase transparency and ensure more opportunities for local businesses. I thank my colleagues for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with them to pass this bipartisan legislation."

The full bill text can be found here, and a summary of the bill can be found here.