TRENTON, NJ - Governor Phil Murphy spent a large part of his daily press briefing on Monday lobbying federal officials to help fund states hit hardest by COVID-19
Joined by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D – NJ), Murphy again asked President Donald Trump and federal lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to help fund state shortfalls and “prevent this public health emergency from turning into the second great depression.”
During calls with the national coronavirus task force and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D – CA), Murphy said, he stressed his message that “direct aid to states is the most pressing of issues.”
Menendez used part of his time at the microphone tout his bi-partisan senate bill that will help fund essential services like police, fire, front-line public health workers, teachers and local public works employees. The State and Municipal Aid for Recovery and Transition (SMART) is already co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) and Menendez expects more of his colleagues to sign on later this week.
“The bill makes sure that New Jersey gets its fair share of federal funding.”
Murphy suggested that the opposition’s objection to more funding is due to New Jersey’s past fiscal irresponsibility.
“To them, all they see is what past administrations had piled up,” Murphy said. “Some have even suggested that our states just go bankrupt. It’s an echo from that classic newspaper headline from the 1970s, except the message today is: ‘Washington to States: Drop Dead.’”
“Our economy has been shaken, businesses are struggling; millions have been furloughed or laid-off,” Menendez said. “People have been suffering and the state and the nation is hurting.”
“The federal government needs to do more; and a lot more, if we are going to successfully defeat COVID-19 and move our economy forward,” Menendez said, stressing the importance of widespread testing as it is the only tool that will allow people to go back to work with confidence that their risk of contracting the virus has been drastically lowered. . “New Jersey can’t do it alone. A national emergency needs a national response.”
“After COVID-19, we will be better prepared and more resilient in our public health infrastructure,” Menendez said. “I see a rising sun on New Jersey and the nation. Not a setting sun.”
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