NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, along with Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) and Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05) today announced the awarding of $1,204,220.50 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) grants to the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to aid the county’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The lawmakers have now secured over $159 million in PA grants to help the state’s pandemic response, including a combined $3.5 million for Bergen County’ s OEM. 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 is included in the President’s Major Disaster Declaration, provide for immediate needs and essential services to protect citizens and recover from the outbreak.
“Bergen County was at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and has successfully flattened its curve and helped save lives,” said Sen. Menendez. “But we need to continue to stay ahead of this virus. This important federal funding will help ensure the county’s first responders and public health officials have the resources they need to continue fighting the virus and protecting the health and safety of county residents.”
“Bergen County health care professionals, first responders, and other frontline workers continue to work tirelessly to contain the spread of this virus,” said Sen. Booker. “As we look to the next phase of this crisis, it’s imperative that New Jersey communities have the resources needed to continue protecting our residents. I stand committed to fighting for federal funding like this that our state needs to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans.”
“Our state has made great progress in fighting the spread of this virus. However, the threat of COVID-19 continues to loom over New Jersey. Central to defeating this virus is procuring needed personal protective equipment for our frontline workers,” said Rep. Pascrell. “These federal funds will help ensure that Bergen County‘s frontline heroes have the resources they need to continue their lifesaving work. Their efforts have been essential in our fight and we must have their backs during and after this crisis. Until this virus is soundly defeated, I will continue to demand New Jersey receive every available federal dollar we need. We are all in this together and we will win this fight together.”
“Through all the bipartisan bills Congress has passed to help our nation combat this crisis, millions of dollars of direct relief are working to help Warren, Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen counties ensure residents are safe and protected. Federal investments are helping every community in New Jersey, including all throughout the Fifth District. This FEMA investment will help ensure that Bergen County has the resources it needs to continue fighting this outbreak," said Rep. Gottheimer. "Through all these efforts, we are clawing resources back here to North Jersey, the eye of the COVID-19 storm, standing by our local communities, and helping combat this crisis and fully recover."
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 and $2.3 million to the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management.
In May, Sens. Menendez and Cindy Hyde Smith (R-Miss.) introduced the Local Community Emergency Relief Act, which is bipartisan legislation to eliminate the 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. Pascrell 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.