NJ House members want $40B in aid divvied by state infection rate
The entirety of New Jersey and New York's delegations in the U.S. House of Representatives is requesting at least $40 billion in new federal funding for COVID-19 relief, and further requiring that money be divided among states depending on their individual share of the national infection rate.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, is one of the leaders of the request, and pointed out that in the first $30 billion allocation, New Jersey received only 3% of that pot despite having around 10% of the national cases, and New York got just 6% of the money while shouldering 35% of all cases.
"We have half the cases, in New York and New Jersey, in the country, so half the cases and received less than 10% of the dollars for our hospitals, so it just gives you a sense of the way this has played out," Gottheimer said. "New Jersey got about $18,000 per patient, and West Virginia now has $471,000 per patient, just because we've had, unfortunately, so many cases...When we allocate more resources, which we must do, we need to ensure that there is a set of resources for states like ours that have been hit the hardest."
The infection rates would be calculated using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as of April 10. On that date, New Jersey and New York had more COVID-19 cases than the next 18 highest states combined, according to Gottheimer.
The congressman did not indicate a definitive timeline for action on the letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but clearly, he said, the sooner the better.
"I'm hoping that we keep the caseload down in the rest of the country," he said. "Unfortunately, we just were on the front lines of this and hardest-hit."
Gottheimer anticipates the next traunch of money the New Jersey delegation might request would be part of a business stimulus, once it is deemed safe for many to return to work.