NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) today led the New Jersey and New York congressional delegations, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), in urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expedite the awarding of funds for hospitals and health care providers as appropriated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The stimulus package includes $100 billion to ensure hospitals and health care providers have the adequate resources to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Together, the two states have more than 100,000 positive cases.
“As health care professionals describe their hospitals as war zones and the death toll in our states continues to rise, federal funding must be prioritized for hospitals and health care providers in states bearing the brunt of treating infected patients,” the lawmakers wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
Hospitals throughout both states have cancelled elective surgeries, which has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Some hospitals report only having a week’s worth of cash left and many of them only have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to last a few days. This funding will allow hospitals to prepare for the expected surge in the number of cases by building temporary medical sites, increasing workforce, and purchasing PPE and testing supplies.
“Currently, the health care infrastructure in both New Jersey and New York is incredibly overwhelmed,” the letter continued. “New York is now the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. With their many major metropolitan and densely-populated areas, these two states are poised to remain disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”
The entire New Jersey delegation signed the letter including U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.-02), Andy Kim (N.J.-03), Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Tom Malinowski (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.11-) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12).
Members of the New York delegation also signed the letter including, U.S. Representatives Brian Higgins (N.Y.-26), Thomas Suozzi (N.Y.-03), Eliot Engel (N.Y.-16), Max Rose (N.Y.-11), Peter King (N.Y.-02), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.-14), Antonio Delgado (N.Y.-19), Lee Zeldin (N.Y.-01), Jose Serrano (N.Y.-15), Joseph Morelle (N.Y.-25), Paul Tonko (N.Y.-20), Kathleen Rice (N.Y.-04), Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.-07), Jerry Nadler (N.Y.-10), Nita Lowey (N.Y.-17), Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.-13), Tom Reed (N.Y.-23), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.-21) and Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.-08).
A copy of the letter can be found here.