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Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019

Floor Speech

Date: March 31, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, as of the time of this debate, there are 6,876 positive COVID-19 cases in New Jersey. And tragically 81 individuals in our state have lost their lives. These are friends, family and loved ones. This virus has touched each and every one of us. I grieve for all the lives lost and for those who are fighting tooth and nail to beat this nasty virus. Our front lines are staffed with brave first responders and health care workers doing their best to help those impacted. Across my state, we are hard at work making sure those who need a test are getting tested and we have expanded bed capacity to care for those in need. The coming weeks will be hard for all. And I remain ready and willing to do everything I can for our state and country.

I rise today because I support the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act because it provides immediate and needed assistance for workers, families, small businesses and hospitals across our country weathering the COVID-19 crisis. Democrats stood strong against the partisan, corporate-focused bail out prioritized by Senate Republicans. Through tough negotiations, we secured payments of as much as $1,200 for individual taxpayers and $500 per child. Democrats also secured expanded unemployment insurance for any worker affected by COVID-19, including an additional $600 a week in additional and expanded benefits and protections for self-employed and nonprofits. And we guaranteed inclusion of $150 billion to help states and territories respond to this crisis. After I led a letter signed by over 100 members of Congress, first responders will receive nearly $1 billion in federal assistance to help purchase needed personal protective equipment. Our hospitals and providers, who stand on the frontlines of this pandemic, will receive $100 billion in funding to reimburse for COVID-19 related costs. This was a top priority for our state's delegation, which stood united demanding this relief. But I know it is not enough. I will keep fighting for more aid for our first responders, for our hurting small business owners, and for the millions of Americans being pummeled by this terrible time.

Like millions of Americans across the country, I am practicing safe social distancing measures by working from home. I am connecting everyday with my constituents and local, state, and federal officials making sure New Jersey's voice is being represented and our needs are being met. I support this relief legislation for our nation. Talk has already begun about what to do next, and I am fully focused on making sure New Jersey gets its due.