OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 last week, a $1.9 trillion package – now headed for a vote in the Senate.  So, what’s in it for Ocean County?

Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), who represents portions of Burlington and Ocean County voted to pass the relief package. He says that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted residents beyond health issues.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just taken lives, it has sparked a year-long crisis that has cost millions their jobs, put millions more into poverty, and put an incredible strain on our communities,” said Kim in a recent press release. “These problems are interconnected, which means the solutions must be comprehensive.”

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Unemployment continues to be an issue for residents of Ocean County, New Jersey, and the entire country. Part of the bill extends and enhances unemployment support through the end of August. The cost for that alone amounts to approximately $246 billion.

Restaurants and bars throughout Southern Ocean County that have been hit hard by the pandemic and related restrictions could qualify for additional funds. A new program at SBA makes $25 billion available to these types of businesses with 20 or fewer locations.

Families experiencing difficulties would be able to take advantage of a larger Child Tax Credit, making it fully refundable. This accounts for another $143 billion on the federal level.

“This bill doesn’t just provide the funding we need to end this pandemic, it follows through on our promise to provide direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance to those families struggling to put food on the table,” emphasized Kim. “It will help get our kids back to school in-person faster, and it will deliver the funding our small businesses and towns have been asking for to get them through these tough times.”

State and local governments receive economic assistance as part of the relief package within sixty days of its enactment. New Jersey would receive a total of approximately $10 billion in total. On a more local level, the package allocates funds to both the county and individual municipal governments:

Ocean County $118,000,000
Barnegat $2,323,683
Ocean Township (Waretown) $892,734
Stafford $2,735,276

County and local governments will receive the funds directly and can use them to cover a wide variety of expenses incurred during the pandemic Some other examples include testing/vaccination efforts, buying PPE for government offices/small businesses/essential workers, hazard pay for government or essential workers, grants to small businesses, grants to families, grants to childcare providers, preventing layoffs, and more.

School districts will receive separate funding for expenses associated with the pandemic.

Approximately 22 percent of the entire bill - $422 billion dollars is designated to go into the pockets of American taxpayers. A payment of $1400 adds to the $600 afforded in the last stimulus for a total of $2,000 in economic support to working families.

Qualifications for the additional direct payment are based on income. The $1,400 is intended for single filers with incomes up to $75,000, head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500, and joint filers with incomes up to $150,000.

Other assistance provided for in the bill includes:

  • Over $20 Billion to Establish A National COVID-19 Vaccination Program and Improve the Administration and Distribution of Vaccinations.
  • $49 Billion to Expand Testing, Contact Tracing, and Mitigation and Related Activities.
  • Nearly $130 billion to Help K-12 Schools Re-Open Safely.$39 billion through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for childcare providers as the country reopens and provides financial relief for families struggling to cover tuition.
  • $7.25 billion in additional funding for PPP and expands eligibility of 501(c) nonprofits of all sizes and types.$13 billion for VA to provide health care services.

“The cost of inaction is inexcusable,” Kim said. “Every person I talk to – from mayors and local officials from both parties, to small business owners, to people calling in on my town halls – want their federal government to take every action possible to end this pandemic and get our communities back on their feet. I voted for this because it’s what people in our communities want, and it’s the help they truly deserve.”

The House bill passed along partisan lines, and may have a similar result in the Senate.

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