NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker and Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) and Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05) today announced the awarding of $2,351,114.87 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) public assistance grants to the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to aid the county’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Bergen County is the hardest hit in the state with all 70 of its municipalities reporting positive COVID-19 cases and over 13,000 confirmed cases and 835 deaths.

The $2 trillion federal emergency stimulus package included a $45 billion 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.

“This emergency funding will help Bergen County respond to the public health and economic crisis. I want to thank the Bergen County first responders who have been on the frontlines protecting our communities and families since the outbreak first hit our state,” said Sen. Menendez. “Bergen County has been one of the hardest hit areas in our state and the nation. These critical federal dollars will provide those who risk their own well-being with the resources necessary to continue to fight the pandemic and protect the health and safety of county residents.”

“Bergen County health care professionals, first responders, and other frontline workers continue to show great courage in containing 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. That’s why 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 communities are working heroically to contain the virus, but all of them desperately need more financial assistance. Without it, New Jersey counties and towns won’t be able to defeat this virus and reopen,” said Rep. Pascrell who this week led 175 Democratic and Republicans members of the House calling on FEMA to eliminate cost-sharing obligations to give the states flexibility to defeat COVID-19. “This generous award will have a uniformly positive impact to help Bergen County manage this ongoing crisis. But it is vital for the federal government to do more for New Jersey by increasing the federal cost share to 100%. More aid will expedite how fast we can beat the virus and achieve the full recovery all of us want.”

“It is vital that we get federal investment to every community in New Jersey, so that we can continue working to keep our residents safe and protected. This investment will help ensure that Bergen County has the resources it needs to continue fighting this outbreak and that our first responders and front-line health care workers have the support they need to do their jobs safely and effectively," said Rep. Gottheimer. “Through all these efforts, we are clawing resources back here to North Jersey, the eye of the storm, standing by our local communities, and helping combat this crisis and fully recover."

This funding awarded by FEMA represents only 75% of total costs incurred so far by the Bergen County OEM to respond to COVID-19. FEMA’s guidelines require grant awardees to pay the remaining 25%.

Sen. Menendez has led bipartisan requests from both the New Jersey congressional delegation and 23 of his Senate colleagues calling on President Trump to eliminate the local cost-sharing for FEMA disaster grants. If approved, Bergen County would receive the full $3,134,819.83 to cover costs it has incurred combatting COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Sens. Menendez and Booker announced over $63 million in public assistance grants to the New Jersey State Police to support their efforts in combatting the outbreak across the state.

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.