Menendez, Booker, Sires, Payne, Sherrill, Malinowski Announce $1.8M to Support Essex County COVID-19 Response

Menendez, Booker, Sires, Payne, Sherrill, Malinowski Announce $1.8M to Support Essex County COVID-19 Response


NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Representatives Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.-11) and Tom Malinowski (N.J.-07) today announced that Essex County has been awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) grant of $1.78 million to aid the county’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“New Jersey was at the center of the storm when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit our shores, and swift action, smart decisions and the tireless efforts of our first responders and frontline health professionals helped flatten the curve and save lives,” said Senator Menendez. “But we have not beaten this virus. This federal funding is critical to ensuring that Essex County’s first responders and public health officials have the resources and protective gear they need to keep fighting COVID-19 and protecting the health and safety of residents.”

“We have an obligation to ensure health care professionals and other frontline workers across New Jersey have the necessary resources to battle this public health crisis,” said Senator Booker. “I will continue to fight for federal funding like this in order to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans.” 

“These funds will help our communities as we continue to cope with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Sires. “New Jersey has been hit hard by the virus and federal resources are essential to our response efforts so I’m pleased that Essex County is getting much needed support.” 

“This is great news for Essex County,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “I have been working with FEMA to get the county more money to test residents and treat coronavirus infections since this public health crisis began.  Essex County has the second-highest rates of infections in the state and had the highest rates for weeks.  County medical officials need all the help we can give them and I hope this is the first of many grants they receive from FEMA.”   

“Essex County has been among the worst impacted counties in New Jersey, and public servants at every level have worked tirelessly to bring the number of cases down and keep residents safe,” said Representative Sherrill. “I am continually impressed with how Essex County is at the forefront of keeping track of their cases, putting safety measures in place, informing residents about those guidelines, and working to help small businesses and workers during this crisis. This grant funding will help ensure Essex has the resources it needs to carry on that important work, and I’m proud to fight alongside Senator Menendez and the delegation for more state and local funding for New Jersey.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit New Jersey harder than most states, but we've also made more progress than any other towards defeating it,” said Representative Malinowski. “This funding will ensure that our first responders and frontline healthcare workers across Essex County will be fully equipped to continue to fight back against this disease so we can safely reopen our economy with confidence.”

To date, New Jersey’s lawmakers have secured nearly $162 in PA grants to help the state’s pandemic response. The $2 trillion federal emergency stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, included $45 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund to help states, like New Jersey, which were included in the President’s Major Disaster Declaration, provide for immediate needs and essential services to protect citizens and recover from the outbreak. 

The lawmakers previously announced PA grant awards for $23 million$26.3 million$8.7 million$6 million$43.6 million$21.3 million and $26.1 million to the New Jersey State Police; $2.3 million and $1.2 million to Bergen County Office of Emergency Management; and $1.4 million to Camden County Office of Emergency Management.

In May, Sen. Menendez introduced the bipartisan Local Community Emergency Relief Act, to eliminate cost-share payments required of states and communities included in federal disaster declarations in 2020. Sen. Menendez has led bipartisan requests from both the New Jersey congressional delegation and his Senate colleagues calling on President Trump to completely eliminate the local cost-sharing for FEMA disaster grants. Sen. Booker and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) joined Menendez in those efforts.

Sen. Menendez also led the delegation’s support for Gov. Phil Murphy’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration, making the state eligible for these additional federal resources to combat the coronavirus.