COVID-19 hit New Jersey early and hard. But even during the toughest days, we saw New Jerseyans do what we do best. We came together — we supported, looked after, and fought for each other. I formed the Regional Recovery Task Force and fought in Congress for aid for our state, hospitals, long-term care facilities, first responders, schools, workers, and small businesses. 

With the passing of the American Rescue Plan, we were able to get New Jerseyans vaccinated, kids back to school, residents back to work, keep our small businesses open, and our first responders and teachers on the job. It was my provision to the bill that provided direct state and local government funding which proved essential in making sure local budgets were not overburdened by the frontline response our towns and municipalities had to provide. This law also provided direct aid to New Jersey’s counties and municipalities. It also kept healthcare affordable for working families by stopping the IRS from clawing back New Jerseyans’ Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC).

Throughout the pandemic, I convened calls with our local medical providers to hear directly about what they were seeing in their hospitals and doctors’ offices and how I could best support them. I fought to get federal resources to New Jersey to support nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in our community. I worked to increase funding for training and prevention programs to give healthcare providers, social workers, and mental health professionals the tools to help families struggling during COVID. I’m currently leading two bipartisan bills to expand access to telehealth services that proved especially critical during the pandemic. 

Our first responders were incredibly brave keeping our towns safe through the hardest days of the pandemic. I’ve stayed in constant contact with our law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS to ensure they received the support they needed. With funding from the American Rescue Plan, our first responders were able to maintain and hire members for their forces and were kept safe with PPE gear.

Small businesses suffered during the COVID-19 health crisis. But it was our work together — roundtable discussions, meetings with local chambers of commerce, and surveys of small businesses — that proved invaluable in my work to provide more small business support. I fought for the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) which proved crucial in their recovery. On small business walks throughout the district, owners have told me how critical these programs were to them and keeping their doors open through the pandemic. I also have had the privilege of delivering aid to small businesses through the grant program Morris County created with their American Rescue Plan funds.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some new challenges that we as a country must continue to overcome. Whether it is the disruption of our supply chains, the refilling of our strategic stockpiles, addressing the lasting effects on mental health and long COVID, or preparing for the next public health emergency, I will continue to be NJ-11’s advocate in Washington fighting for what is best for public health and our community.

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