RELEASE: Gottheimer Claws Back Federal COVID-19 Relief Dollars for Tax Cuts, Small Business Relief, Investment for Every Town & County

Mar 12, 2021
Press

Relief for small businesses, restaurants, venues

Direct checks, tax cuts to families

Above: Gottheimer outside the Allendale Bar & Grill today to announce direct federal COVID-19 relief for local Fifth District counties and towns, and for restaurants and small businesses.

ALLENDALE, NJ — Today, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer joined local small business and restaurant owners to unveil federal dollars clawed back from the new COVID-19 relief package. The bill, which has now been signed into law, includes federal dollars for every county and local government in the Fifth District, new relief for restaurants and businesses, investments in broadband and infrastructure improvements, direct checks for adults and children, and resources to safely reopen schools — all to help local economies and communities reopen and recover.

Gottheimer made today’s announcement outside Allendale Bar & Grill, alongside owners Chris Kunisch, Craig Kunisch, and Katie Ohnegian; Allendale Councilmember Jim Strauch, and Allendale Chamber of Commerce member Heidi Gross.

The Borough of Allendale will now receive more than $661,000 in direct federal COVID-19 relief. The Allendale Bar & Grill is one of the recipients of the 63,000+ federal PPP forgivable loans in New Jersey thus far — to help pay employees and keep their doors open during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Clawing back these federal COVID-19 relief dollars is a win for our communities, for our families, for our small businesses, and, most importantly, for our health. It will help us get to the other side of this pandemic. I believe we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, because we all know this hasn’t been an easy time for our country or for our state,” said Congressman Gottheimer (NJ-5). “We’re clawing back millions of dollars to the Fifth District to help every single county and town government, get vaccines into more arms,  bring critical dollars to our schools and to those who’ve lost their jobs or need help with child care. It will also inject essential investment into our communities, to help pay for cops, firefighters, and EMTs, and invest in local infrastructure, including to help boost broadband and help improve our old pipes and water infrastructure. It will also help lower health care premiums for those struggling during the pandemic. And every family who makes less than $160,000 dollars, will get a check sent to them, representing an enormous tax cut for middle class families.”

New Relief for Fifth District Counties & Towns:

  • Bergen County:
    • Bergen County Government: $259.73 million 
    • Total to Individual Bergen Municipalities in the Fifth District: $53.28 million
  • Passaic County:
    • Passaic County Government: $97.33 million 
    • Total to the two Individual Passaic Municipalities in the Fifth District: $3.78 million
  • Sussex County:
    • Sussex County Government: $27.25 million
    • Total to the Individual Sussex Municipalities in the Fifth District: $9.26 Million
  • Warren County:
    • Warren County Government: $20.42 million 
    • Total to the Individual Warren Municipalities in the Fifth District: $6.51 million

New Federal Relief for Restaurants & Small Businesses:

  • Small Businesses: 
    • $15 billion in new funding for Targeted EIDL grants, available to hard-hit, underserved small businesses. 
    • $7.25 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans. 
  • Live Venues:
    • $1.25 billion in grants for shuttered live venue operators.
  • Restaurants:
    • $28.66 billion a new program at the Small Business Administration — the Restaurant Revitalization Fund — to offer assistance to restaurants and bars hit hard by the pandemic. 
    • Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants will provide a maximum $10 million per restaurant group or $5 million per individual restaurant location. Eligible businesses include: restaurants and bars that are not part of an affiliated restaurant group with more than 20 locations, and are not publicly traded.

Learn more about new federal COVID-19 relief for North Jersey counties, towns, & communities HERE.

Watch today’s announcement event HERE.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

I’m here today for one simple reason: The COVID-19 emergency relief package we passed this week was a win for our communities, for our families, for our small businesses, like this one – and, most importantly, for our health. It will help us get to the other side of this pandemic. And, as the President said last night, the light is at the end of the tunnel. Because we all know this hasn’t been an easy time for our country, or for our state. 

A year ago, we were literally in the eye of the COVID-19 storm. Fast forward, the counties that make up the Fifth District have now had 158,000 total COVID-19 cases, and we’ve lost 4,891 souls, including too many of our moms and dads, brothers and sisters, neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Our small businesses, including so many of our restaurants, have been devastated. Nearly a third of them have shuttered their doors. Schools opened and closed — our children falling further behind. 

This COVID-19 relief package, like its four bipartisan predecessors, brings critical help to Northern New Jersey — including every single county and every single town in the Fifth District.  

In the end, the more than $476 million dollars we’ve clawed back here to the Fifth District will get vaccines into more arms, and bring critical dollars to our schools and to those who’ve lost their jobs or need help with child care. It will also inject essential investment into our      communities, to help pay for cops, firefighters, and EMTs, and invest in local infrastructure, including to help build out broadband and help improve our old pipes and water infrastructure. It will help lower health care premiums for those struggling during the pandemic. 

And every family who makes less than $160,000 dollars, will get a check sent to them, representing an enormous tax cut for middle class families.   

Allendale alone will receive more than $661,000 in COVID-19 relief directly to the Borough’s to help cover COVID expenses and lost revenue, support our cops, firefighters, and EMTs, wire an unserved community with broadband, and pay for urgent infrastructure projects.  

Overall, here in Bergen County, we’re clawing back $259 million directly to the County’s government.  That doesn’t include the direct checks being sent to families, or the extra unemployment dollars, help for child care, the resources for our schools, and those to help feed those in need. 

And we fought for and secured critical resources to our small businesses and restaurants like Allendale Bar and Grill, which will qualify for special restaurant and venue grants on top of the second round of available PPP forgivable loans. 

I know Craig, Chris, and Katie, like 63,732 of other PPP loan recipients in New Jersey have already received one, which helped keep their doors open and employees in their jobs. We need to do everything we can to help small businesses like these pull through the pandemic, so we can all gather on main streets like this one for a burger and beer when this is all over. 

Let me take you through some more detail on how the emergency COVID-19 package, signed into law yesterday, will help our families and every single county and town government here in the Fifth get our lives back on track.

I also want to stress the widespread support this package has around the nation and across the aisle.

As the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus — a group in Congress evenly split between 28 Republicans and 28 Democrats — building bipartisan support from the grassroots up is incredibly important to me.

Data from this week shows that 75% of Americans support the package we passed this week, including nearly 60% of Republican voters.

New data released this week by Pew Research found that a majority (63%) of more hard-pressed Republicans favor the new relief package, and — while no piece of legislation is perfect — the tax dollars we clawed back to Jersey in this COVID emergency relief package will help our families, seniors and children stay healthy, keep the doors to our small businesses open, and help restart our economy. And I’m very proud of the many ways I helped shape the legislation, from support for restaurants to broadband for our rural communities to lower taxes for our families to help for our nursing homes. 

First, and most important, this emergency pandemic bill will help get the vaccine out. You heard the President say last night that by May 1st, states need to ensure that all adults are eligible for a vaccine. I’ve said all along that we need to take care of our seniors and those most vulnerable first, plus those on the front lines, like our first responders, caregivers, and our teachers — so that we can get our kids back to school full time as soon as possible. So far, New Jersey has also now administered 2,743,000 vaccine doses as of yesterday — which is a great step. That includes 322,000 doses in Bergen, 125,000 doses in Passaic, 44,000 doses in Sussex, and 28,000 doses in Warren. 

This emergency package includes more than $60 billion for a nationwide investment in vaccine distribution, deployment, and testing and tracing. This investment will accelerate vaccine distribution and help ensure we vaccinate critical populations like our educators, and so we meet that directive of vaccines to every adult.

Second, I know how much this state and local municipality relief is going to help our residents, because I’ve been in constant communication with our local officials, including county and state elected officials, mayors, councils, fire and police chiefs, about what they need and how I can help.

Overall, I am pleased to announce that the county and town governments that make up the Fifth District will receive an estimated total $476 million from the new relief package. That’s our tax dollars clawed back here to Jersey. New Jersey will receive $9.3 billion overall. 

I have every single town-by-town breakdown listed on my website, but here’s the topline for each county government and all of the Fifth District towns – again not including additional resources for families, schools, businesses, nonprofits, food pantries, and the like. This was decided by population and need, so Jersey will obviously do better than a state like Kansas:

For Bergen County, we’ve clawed back a total $313 million.

For Passaic County, we’ve clawed back $101 million in total.

For Sussex County, we’ve clawed back $36.5 million.

And for Warren County, we’ve clawed back $26.9 million.

State and local government recipients can use these funds to cover COVID-19 costs through the end of 2024, to support local vaccination sites, keep essential public service workers like teachers, firefighters, EMS, and law enforcement employed, make vital investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure and, overall, help get our local economies going — all vital steps we need to take right now.

The funds will be distributed in two tranches: the first half in the first 60 days, and the remainder by one year from now

A major priority of mine is also helping our North Jersey towns and emergency services claw back federal dollars to help them do their jobs of protecting our communities and keeping families safe.

This new package includes $100 million for the Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG), as well as $200 million for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) grants — all to make sure our local firefighters and EMS have the resources they need to respond to this COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the extra dollars each town receives, this will help keep our vital cops and firefighters that have been on the frontline of this pandemic employed, as well as vital safety and protective equipment to help them do their jobs. It also covers any shortfalls first responders have because of the virus. 

Another huge win in this relief package is the dedicated investment I fought so hard for to claw back our federal tax dollars to fix our infrastructure and broadband connectivity here in North Jersey. While negotiations around this bill were on-going, I led a bipartisan initiative to push — with partners in the House and in the Senate — for investment to boost broadband connectivity. 

The package now includes $10 billion dedicated to capital projects such as broadband and water infrastructure, including addressing lead in drinking water.

But that’s not all — the dollars that we’re clawing back here to help each town government and county government in North Jersey can also be utilized to improve broadband connectivity for our residents. That means: if a county or town wants to, they can invest every dollar they get directly from the state and local funds from this new package into broadband infrastructure and improving broadband connectivity. 

In 2018, nearly 17 million children lived in homes without high-speed Internet, and more than 7 million did not have computers at home. Those slower speeds mean a student can’t stream live online instruction or participate in live debate with their class — a major barrier for remote, online education. 

I promised broadband investment… infrastructure investment… and we’re delivering on that promise in this new COVID relief package.

Seeing as we’re here at Allendale Bar & Grill, which has been helped by previous rounds of the PPP program, as I mentioned — we’ve now included new dedicated federal dollars that our local restaurants can claw back to help them make it through this crisis and pay their workers. The new relief package includes $28.66 billion nationwide      to offer assistance to restaurants and bars hit hard by the pandemic. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which the SBA should open applications for in a matter of weeks, will provide grants up to      $10 million per restaurant group or $5 million per individual restaurant location.      

For our small businesses, the package includes $15 billion in new funding for Targeted EIDL grants, available to hard-hit, underserved small businesses, as well as $1.25 billion in grants for shuttered live venue operators, and $7.25 billion in more PPP funding — now available to more nonprofits.

It’s clear how much the pandemic has hit every aspect of our daily lives and communities, which is why this package includes relief at every angle.

To get direct dollars into the pockets of families, $1,400 direct payments will be going out shortly to adults and dependents who are eligible. 

We’ve also extended the $300-per-week federal unemployment benefits through September 6th for those who may be out of work. I helped fight to provide tax relief for those who received unemployment payments last year, waiving federal income taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 for households earning less than $150,000. This will help stop thousands of unemployed North Jersey workers from having a surprise tax bill this year. 

We need to get teachers and kids safely back in the classroom, so, the package includes $130 billion for K-12 school reopening efforts nationwide. This will help schools purchase PPE, support students’ mental health needs, and get kids back on track to achieve their academic goals. This package also includes an additional $40 billion for higher education to do the same. 

We’ve also included additional investment for school lunches and summer meals, with around 26 million Americans nationwide having faced food insecurity during this crisis. The new package includes $12 billion investment in nutrition programs, including an extension of providing children who are learning remotely with school meals through the Pandemic EBT program. 

Also, the USDA just announced it will be extending waivers for summer meal programs through September, so schools can continue to serve meals at no cost to all students. I know many of our schools have been taking advantage of the waivers, and I want our mayors and superintendents to be aware of this opportunity.

I know the cost of care is top of mind to many New Jersey families and I’m committed to continuing my work to lower  costs. This package invests $35 billion to reduce ACA premiums for more seniors and more families, and ensures that no one spends more than 8.5% of their income on their health insurance premiums for plans obtained through public exchanges for the next two years. This legislation will also fully subsidize COBRA premiums through September 30th, to make sure those who lose their jobs still have access to affordable health care.  It will also help our rural hospitals who have faced major shortfalls. 

Also to help families, the child tax credit is being increased to $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 annually for children under 6 for the tax year 2021. It is estimated that measures in this bill alone will lower the national child poverty rate by more than 40%.

To wrap up, the relief that has now been signed into law: I’m very optimistic that the federal dollars we’re clawing back to North Jersey will provide tax cuts to our families, help revitalize our state and our local communities, kick start our local economies, get vaccines to our residents, get children back in school safely, improve our ailing infrastructure and boost broadband connectivity, help our local businesses, restaurants, and venues recover, and — ultimately — get everyone back on track. 

By clawing back our federal tax dollars, and with everyone working together to make this happen, I know our best days will always be ahead of us.

We live in the greatest country on earth, and I know we’ll get through this crisis.

Please stay safe, may God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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