WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Chris Smith called the $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27 an important step to help restore the U.S. economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The public-private partnership in my district, state and in the nation is unprecedented. We must do everything we can to flatten the curve and help our people and communities recover,” said Smith, (R-4th District), who represents Belmar and Lake Como in Congress.

“More remains to be done to reverse the economic hardship caused by this virus,” he said, noting that New Jersey has been hit hard by COVID-19. As of March 28, 11,124 New Jerseyans have tested positive for COVID-19, which has claimed 140 lives in the state.

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“Still this legislation ensures that the federal government send money and expertise to New Jersey to help mitigate additional job loss, support those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and support our state and local government response teams, hospitals and service industry sectors. Our country will recover, and this is an important part of that effort.”

Smith in a release outlined the specific details of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed into law.

  • Provides direct financial assistance of $1,200 for individuals making under $75,000 per year, with incrementally smaller assistance for those with higher incomes under certain thresholds.
  • Allows for loans — rather than bailouts — to industries including airlines and those critical to national security, while also imposing limits on the pay employees may receive, and prohibiting stock buybacks, for businesses which utilize these plans.
  • Allocates $100 billion in grants to hospitals to address coronavirus-related financial damage.
  • Provides $150 billion to assist state and local governments.
  • Adds $600 per week to unemployment benefits, and extends them for an additional four months.
  • Direct $16 billion to assist in the procurement of medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • Allocate $11 billion for coronavirus research and treatment.
  • Allows cost recovery for investments in Qualified Improvement Properties (QIP).
  • Ensures that self-employed individuals and independent contractors can qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • Creates a “paycheck protection program” for small businesses that provides eight weeks of federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll. The portion of these loans used to pay workers, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.

The full, final text of the CARES Act can be found here.

The CARES Act is Phase III of the federal response, support by Smith. Phase I — the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 — provided $8.3 billion for treatment and prevention measures,  and Phase II — the Families First Coronavirus Response Act — which paid sick leave, family medical leave, free testing, and expanded unemployment benefits among other provisions to help working Americans. 

In video below is Smith's statement on the floor of the House of Representatives: 

 

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