Congress is set to approve a new roughly $ 900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill that includes another round of direct controls but no direct aid for state and local governments, NJ told NJ Advance Media a congressional source close to the negotiations.
Direct payments would be closer to $ 600 rather than the original $ 1,200. While there would be no general help to cash-strapped state and local governments who have seen their incomes widen due to the coronavirus-induced economic downturn, the bill would include funding for health systems. public transport and vaccine distribution.
A proposed formula for dividing state and local aid would have given New Jersey about $ 8 billion, the fifth among the 50 states.
This aid was a key part of the $ 787 billion stimulus bill enacted in 2009 in response to the Great Recession. It represented 42% of the package, or $ 330 billion, according to the California State Legislature’s Office of Budget and Policy Analysis.
But Senate Republicans have been reluctant to provide aid to help states pay the salaries of first responders, teachers and other public sector workers, calling the aid a “blue state bailout” even though Texas and Florida, run by the GOP, have reportedly received more aid than any other state. but California.
To respond to Republicans’ objection to state and local aid, no money could have been spent to consolidate pension funds.
The final deal would also miss the Senate Republicans’ top priority: protecting businesses, schools and other institutions from coronavirus-related lawsuits. According to law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, out of 6,705 lawsuits related to COVID-19, only 29 involved personal injury or death.
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A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives, including Representative Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist., Failed to agree on state aid and accountability, instead placing them in separate legislation while they are drafting a $ 748 billion package that will be much of the foundation. of the final agreement.
The package also included expanded unemployment benefits, another round of small business forgivable loans, nutritional support and school support. It would also extend the moratoriums on evictions and student loan repayments.
Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the new Congress would consider providing more aid next year. President-elect Joe Biden has previously said he will seek additional stimulus spending once he takes office in January.
“This will not be the last time Congress speaks on COVID relief,” Schumer told the Senate. “At the moment, we have to deal with this short-term emergency. But make no mistake: we will work in the future to provide additional relief as needed by the country.”
Jonathan D. Salant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @JDSalant.
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