Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

NJ Members Gottheimer and Smith NY Members Suozzi, King, Jeffries, and Reed Lead Unanimous Bipartisan Delegations Demanding More Federal Aid for States Hit Hardest by COVID-19 After Local Hospitals Get Short-Changed

Apr 14, 2020
In The News

NEW JERSEY – New Jersey Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Chris Smith (NJ-4), along with New York Representatives Tom Suozzi (NY-3), Peter King (NY-2), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), and Tom Reed (NY-23), are leading a bipartisan request from the entirety of both New York and New Jersey’s House delegations to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. The delegations are unanimously requesting the creation of a separate fund of at least $40 billion in the interim emergency COVID-19 relief package and that it be allocated among the states based upon their share of the national infection rate according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracking data on April 10, 2020.

New York and New Jersey are the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. As of April 10, both states have a combined number of 208,100 cases of COVID 19, or 45% of all COVID-19 cases in the country — more confirmed cases than the next 18 states combined. 

However, federal aid is not currently being allocated proportionally to the impact of the virus, meaning that the hardest hit states are not being given the help they need in the current battle. 

For example, in the first $30 billion of federal coronavirus aid for hospitals, New Jersey only received 3% of the money, despite having approximately 10-11% of the cases. New York only received 6% of the money, despite having approximately 35% of the cases. 

“The current and historical funding formulas used by the federal government are insufficient in the face of this global epidemic. New York and New Jersey need substantial emergency funding in order to fill budgetary holes for critical services during this crisis. Without adequate, and proportional assistance, we fear that our states will be forced to cut services, such as health care, education, nutrition, first responders, free and fair elections, and transportation,” the Members wrote in a letter this past week to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

In addition to Gottheimerr, Smith, Suozzi, King, Jeffires, and Reed, the bipartisan group of members who signed the letter includes: Kathleen Rice, Lee Zeldin, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Nydia Velázquez, Yvette Clarke, Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, José Serrano, Sean Patrick Maloney, Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, Elise Stefanik, Anthony Brindisi, John Katko, Joe Morelle, Brian Higgins, Donald Norcross, Jeff Van Drew, Andy Kim, Frank Pallone, Tom Malinowski, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Mikie Sherrill, and Bonnie Watson Coleman.


A copy of the letter is available HERE, the text of which is provided below.

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell,

The country is in the midst of a once a century public health crisis and New York and New Jersey are at the epicenter of the outbreak. We request that a separate fund of at least $40 billion fund be created in the interim emergency COVID-19 relief package and it be allocated among the States based upon their share of the national infection rate according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking data on April 10, 2020. This $40 billion fund would be independent of other proposed state and local stabilization funds using traditional population-based formulas. This proposed formula for disbursing the $40 billion fund will provide assistance to the most impacted states.

We need to provide resources to our states proportionate to the burden they bear. Currently, New York and New Jersey have a combined number of 208,100 cases of COVID 19, or 45% of all COVID-19 cases in the country. As of April 10th, our states have more confirmed cases than the next 18 highest states combined. New York and New Jersey are not alone in the suffering and costs of responding to the pandemic, but federal aid has not been allocated proportionately to the impact of the virus.

The current and historical funding formulas used by the federal government are insufficient in the face of this global epidemic. New York and New Jersey need substantial emergency funding in order to fill budgetary holes for critical services during this crisis. Without adequate, and proportional assistance, we fear that our states will be forced to cut services, such as health care, education, nutrition, first responders, free and fair elections, and transportation.

In addition, this pandemic has negatively impacted the finances of our counties, cities, towns and villages. While this $40 billion fund is specific to states, local governments must be included in other nationwide solutions. Economically, the business shut down has resulted in reduced sales tax revenues, permit fees, and other local levies. It is also likely that many unemployed landowners will be unable to pay their property taxes, adding even more stress to local budgets. Our local governments have also felt the added financial strain of responding directly to COVID-19 as they struggle to meet the needs of the hospitals, police, EMTs and other emergency services. This has resulted in increased expenses for our local governments and we therefore support a separate stabilization fund to address their fiscal needs.

Therefore, we request at least $40 billion dollars of federal aid be allocated among the States based on their share of the national infection rate according to CDC tracking data. Our approach provides resources in a fair manner that properly accounts for not only population, but also the number of positive COVID-19 cases and the impact of the virus on a government’s revenues and bottom line. Thank you for your attention to this request to stabilize state governments most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Sincerely, 

 

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS