Issue Position: FOR YOU: Leading the charge against the coronavirus and the damage done to our economy
The Coronavirus crisis has shaken the foundation of our country, hurt our businesses and our jobs, and filled us with insecurity and anxiety about paying the bills and providing for our country. These are moments when we need to come together, help each other get through the present, and build for our future. That's why I'm pushing on every lever possible to increase access to testing for everyone in New Jersey. Testing isn't just a health tool, it's a financial tool. Testing is where we know how we can open back up and begin rebuilding the American Dream we were promised.
Even before this crisis, three out of four of us who work full-time were living Paycheck to Paycheck, and most are saddled with debt. There is no wonder that fewer than 1 in 5 Americans feel like they are living the American Dream.
When I was a child, my parents explained to me that the American Dream was earning enough to support your family and build a secure future if you do an honest day's work and play by the rules. Those that work hard should be able to retire with peace of mind. As we rebuild from the crisis at hand, this is how we will get back to that American Dream:
Prioritize the American Worker. When workers win, America wins. As we invest in our future, we must remember that the foundation of our economy is the American worker. As our economy changes, we must provide workers at all levels and ages the resources to help them get ahead and ensure that they stay competitive. This means supporting unions, project labor agreements, a livable wage, safe work environments, and other critical initiatives that help American workers navigate the uncertainty. Our workers deserve to thrive, not just survive. I've been a leader on major efforts in Congress to stop the threats against collective bargaining and to give our local workers more opportunities to get work at the Joint Military Base right here at home.
Support Veterans. Veterans have served our country and we must do everything we can to help them succeed, and that starts right here at home. They deserve more than just lip service that they have heard for years. I'm tired of having veterans in our community ignored. That is why I'm pressing hard to hold the VA accountable and to urge them to move forward on building a new veteran health clinic in Ocean county and improve services at the existing facility. Our VA services should be worthy of the men and women who they're designed to serve. We should make sure that every veteran can get the care they need, when they need it. And we should ensure that as our servicemen and women are coming home, they have the resources and job opportunities they need to serve their country after they're finished wearing the uniform.
Getting You the Education to Stay Competitive. This means investing in teachers, schools and students; making college more affordable so we don't saddle our next generation with enormous debt; and supporting trade schools and apprenticeships.
Support Small Businesses. There has never been a time that is more difficult and dangerous for so many small businesses. The pandemic has changed everything. Being the only Member of Congress from NJ on the Small Business Committee, it is a personal mission of mine to help our small businesses that are the backbone of our district. From the river to the shore, it's our small business owners who drive our economies and create jobs. As we recover from the coronavirus, I will fight for the federal funds our small businesses need to reopen and come back stronger than ever. I've taken a lead in Congress on fighting for our small business owners and giving the resources they need to help our working families thrive. I have championed legislation to reinstate net neutrality, and will simplify complicated accounting standards, ease rules that reduce access to capital, and remove other barriers that are making it harder for small businesses to compete with big corporations.
End Gender and Workplace Discrimination. The gender pay gap is unfair and must end. I have co-sponsored and voted to pass legislation that would finally provide equal pay for equal work. Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are unacceptable. There needs to be dignity in our work and fairness and equality in our paychecks.
Invest in the Industries of the Future. We won't have better-paying jobs unless America remains a leader in global innovation and business. But our country is falling behind in key sectors. Our government's policies and investments must be focused on ensuring U.S. technology powers the global economy of the future. At a time of 5G and AI, we need greater support for STEM education and investments in renewable energy, high-tech manufacturing, biotech, and other fast-growing sectors. Perhaps nowhere in the country is better suited for this type of high tech growth than New Jersey.
Helping You Retire with Peace of Mind
My mother retired last year and, like many other retirees, she has spent many sleepless nights worrying about how she will cover her bills. She, like many others, will depend on Social Security for nearly all of her income. She will depend on Medicare for her healthcare. Alarmingly, these same programs millions of people rely on are the ones Washington Republicans like have said they want to cut to address the hole they blew in the deficit with their unfair tax bill. Americans need more support and security, not Congress uprooting years of careful financial planning at the last minute to help finance a tax cut for millionaires and corporations.
➜ Protect and Expand Social Security." A third of elderly Americans rely on Social Security for all of their income. We need to ensure that they get what they need and explore ways to provide additional security."
➜ Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Medicare. On fixed incomes, rising drug costs are a major threat to security. No senior should ever have to cut their pills in half to afford rent or put food on the table. We must find ways to keep costs down by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for drugs and medical equipment and by requiring price justifications by pharmaceutical companies.
➜ Expand Retirement Accounts. Nearly half of all private sector employees in America, 55 million workers, don't have a retirement savings plan through their employers. Let's create more options to make retirement saving possible for these workers as well as people that are self-employed, caregivers, and others that do not currently have access to a 401k or pension program. Everyone should have an easy way to save for retirement.
➜ Support Community Living and Caregivers. Our elderly deserve to live with dignity and security. Let's work together to ensure that they have the access, mobility, and support they need to thrive in vibrant communities.