RELEASE: Gottheimer Announces $661,000 Clawed Back from Washington for Teaneck First Responders — New Radios for Teaneck Fire Department, Protective Gear for Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Oct 18, 2022
Press

TEANECK, NJ

New Steps to Get Gottheimer’s “Invest to Protect Act” Signed into Law

We Must Fund — Not Defund Law Enforcement

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 Above: Gottheimer at Teaneck Fire Department to announce new federal investments clawed back for first responders.

TEANECK, NJ — Today, October 18, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined with Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), first responders, and local leaders to announce a new $661,000 federal investment clawed back from Washington to Teaneck first responders to protect them and our communities. Gottheimer also announced new steps to move the bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act forward and get it fully signed into law.

By clawing back more federal dollars to North Jersey communities, our mayors, councils, and first responders, we have lifted significant costs off of our town budgets and helped provide critical tax relief to our residents on their property tax line.

New federal investment clawed back from Washington to Teaneck’s first responders includes:

  • $437,000 to equip the Teaneck Fire Department with 58 radios — 20 mobile radios for apparatuses and vehicles that will allow firefighters to easily maintain contact with other first responders on the ground while rushing to an emergency. The department will also receive 38 new portable radios, replacing older models and allowing our firefighters to maintain contact in extreme circumstances. 
  • $224,000 for the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps for new protective gear — helping keep them safe while responding to the thousands of calls they receive every single year.

New action to move the bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act toward becoming law:

  • Gottheimer announced today that he is writing to Senate leadership to formally request that the Invest to Protect Act be brought to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as the chamber is in session in November. Gottheimer has also been working closely with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate bill — Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Chuck Grassley — to move the bill forward.

“What’s great about these investments in our community, is that it helps protect us and helps our communities save real local and property tax dollars, because it’s items that they need but don’t have to pay for out of their local budgets, or bond for. That directly saves taxpayers money,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) a member of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “Our first responders can’t protect us without the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. We need to do everything we can to protect our first responders and to make sure they have what they need – and to honor and protect the families of the fallen. The bottom line: you can’t cut or defund your way to safer communities and better police departments.”

Last month, Gottheimer’s bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act — to make critical, targeted investments in local law enforcement — passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. 153 Republicans and 207 Democrats voted for Gottheimer’s bill. The Invest to Protect Act will ensure that local departments have what they need to recruit and retain the finest officers, to provide necessary training, and to invest in mental health resources for officers.

The bill is backed by the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Fraternal Order of Police, and local New Jersey law enforcement organizations and departments, including key input from the New Jersey State PBA and New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police.

Gottheimer was joined today at the Teaneck Fire Department by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, Bergen County Clerk John Hogan, Teaneck Councilman Michael Pagan, New Jersey State Senator Gordan (LD 37), Teaneck Fire Chief Joe Berchtold, Northern District Vice President Kyle Hughes of the Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association, Holy Name Medical Center Michael Maron, local firefighters, police officers, medics, and EMTs.

Video of the announcement can be found here.

 Below: Gottheimer at Teaneck Fire Department to announce new federal investments clawed back for first responders.

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Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you to Teaneck Mayor Jim Dunleavy, the Council, the Teaneck Fire Department, the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the Teaneck Police Department for welcoming us back to Teaneck, for your excellent leadership, and for working so hard to claw our federal tax dollars back to Teaneck to protect lives and help save our taxpayers money.

Thank you to the Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association for your support and for all you do in our state, and more than anything, thank you to our brave first responders here today for everything you do to keep us and Jersey safe.

I’m proud to be standing here today with my dear friend, Congressman Pascrell. My first event as a member of Congress was actually at a firehouse in Teaneck standing next to Bill, who immediately recruited me to the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. 

He chairs them both, and I’m so proud to fight alongside him for legislation that supports our first responders, including the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, the Michael Lecik Military Firefighters Protection Act, the Never Forget the Heroes Act to permanently authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, and the Protecting America’s First Responders Act. 

Bill’s tireless efforts have fostered the safe North Jersey community that we call home. In fact, Paterson’s fire headquarters now proudly bears his name.

Today, we are here to highlight a major success in clawing more of our federal tax dollars from Washington back here to Teaneck, and away the Moocher States, and to help lower our property taxes — and to announce new steps to get my bipartisan, bicameral law enforcement funding legislation — the Invest to Protect Act — signed into law.

First, this new total federal investment of $661,000 dollars for the Teaneck’s first responders will not only help make life more affordable for the residents here, but, more importantly, will help keep our community and our brave first responders safe. 

As I have said for many years now, we must always stand by those who stand by us. We must always get the backs of those who protect our communities, who make us safer, who make our neighborhoods, like here in Teaneck, the places we want to live and raise our families.

They put their lives on the line for us each and every day — rushing to the scene of a fire, accident, or threat of terror against our homeland. In fact, nationwide, we’ve already lost 190 members of law enforcement and 77 firefighters in the line of duty this year. That includes 2 police officers and 2 firefighters from here in Jersey.

Here in North Jersey especially, we will always stand in the shadows of 9/11. On that day, firefighters, police, and EMTs were on the front lines, and they did what they do every single day: they ran into harm’s way when others ran out to safety. 

But, all of our first responders can’t protect us without the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. We need to do everything we can to protect our first responders and to make sure they have what they need – and to honor and protect the families of the fallen. It’s why we have fought so hard for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, the AFG program, the COPS grant, the SAFER grant, the LESO program, and key initiatives to make sure our towns and police and fire departments have what they need to protect our citizens.

As Bill said, we have very good news on that front here in Teaneck today:

Working hand-in-hand with our offices, and mayor and council, the Teaneck Fire Department applied for and is now successfully clawing back more than $437,000 in federal investment to equip Teaneck firefighters with 58 radios. Twenty mobile radios for apparatuses and vehicles that will allow firefighters to easily maintain contact with other first responders on the ground while rushing to an emergency — a critical resource that many departments have told me can be regularly overlooked. The department will also receive 38 new portable radios, replacing older models and allowing our firefighters to maintain contact in extreme circumstances. 

The good news doesn’t end there — on top of what the Fire Department has clawed back, we’re also clawing back from Washington to Jersey more than $224,000 for the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps for new protective gear — helping keep them safe while responding to the thousands of calls they receive every single year — more than 3,100 calls this year already.

All of this life-saving equipment is through the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to help keep the Township’s firefighters and EMTs safe — a program I’m proud to support year in and year out. 

Teaneck is always thinking about its first responders — and since I’ve taken office, they’ve won grants for everything from a new ambulance to power lifts, rescue kits, and equipment to decontaminate firefighters’ gear and help prevent cancer.

Without question, we must do everything we can to keep our first responders safe, so they can in turn keep us safe. 

Winning these grants takes hard work, both from the fire, police and EMS departments, the mayors and town councils, and the strong support from members of Congress. You’re competing with communities from Moocher States across America. 

But what’s great about these investments in our community, is that it helps protect us and helps our communities save real local and property tax dollars, because it’s items that they need but don’t have to pay for out of their local budgets, or bond for. That directly saves taxpayers money. I’m proud to say that since I was elected in 2016, we’re up 357 percent in terms of what we’ve clawed back to Jersey. In just the last calendar year, that’s $750 back to every household in the Fifth District. This is truly a win-win-win for the taxpayers – and we’ve only done it by applying for, and advocating for grants for everything from firetrucks to generators to desks.

One thing is clear: if you want to make something better, you don’t get there by cutting or defunding. You need to make smart, targeted investments. That’s why we must fund — not defund — law enforcement.

Last month, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed my bipartisan, bicameral bill — the Invest to Protect Act — with sweeping bipartisan support. Nearly every single Democrat and 153 Republicans all came together to vote my legislation out of the House, to ensure we’re getting the backs of our law enforcement. 

I’m here today to announce new steps to move this bill forward and get it fully signed into law.

The Invest to Protect Act, which I introduced with my friend, former Sheriff and Republican Congressman John Rutherford, will make critical, targeted investments in small and midsize police departments — like Teaneck’s — with fewer than 125 sworn officers. These smaller departments make up more than 96% of local U.S. police departments – and they’re often left out of the larger funding opportunities. This legislation will invest in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training, allowing officers to receive critical training that will make them even more effective at their jobs. The bill will create grants for small departments to recruit and retain new officers, to help keep their existing officers and recruit new ones. And finally, it will allow departments to provide mental health resources for their officers.

The bill was backed by the Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Fraternal Order of Police, and local New Jersey law enforcement organizations and departments, including key input from the New Jersey State PBA and New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police.

Now, we made a few tweaks to the bill, backed by law enforcement, since it last passed the Senate over the summer, so it will have to be voted on again for final passage.

I’m working closely with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate bill — Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Chuck Grassley.

I’m also writing this week to Senate leadership — Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — formally requesting that they bring the Invest to Protect Act to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as they are back in session in November. 

We must give law enforcement every tool to fight crime and keep our communities safe, including the recent surge of auto theft. We need to enforce the laws on the books, and we need to hire, recruit, and retain good officers.

As New York City’s new Mayor, Eric Adams, a former Police Captain, said, “I don’t subscribe to the belief of some that we can only have justice and not public safety. We will have them both.” 

Adams is exactly right — we can and we will have both.

The bottom line: you can’t cut or defund your way to safer communities and better police departments.

It’s about investing to protect.

At the same time, as ever, I’m committed to rooting out all wasteful government spending, to eliminate red tape, and to do everything possible to cut our taxes. 

Thank you to everyone here for what you do to keep us all safe, for your public service, for always getting our backs, and for supporting clawing more of our tax dollars back to Jersey. Thank you Teaneck for fighting for the AFG grants, for joining me in my fight to get the Invest to Protect Act signed into law, for standing by your firefighters, EMTs, and law enforcement, and making sure they and our community are safe.  

I know that working together, here, in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.

Thank you and God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

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