Despite the fate of the $900 billion CARES Act now up in the air with the threat of a potential presidential veto, the landmark package still includes billions of dollars earmarked for New Jersey.
The amount that New Jerseyans could see in terms of business relief and extended unemployment benefits could be considerably high, according to figures released on Dec. 23 by the office of Sen. Cory Booker, a Newark Democrat, and according to a review of the 5,593-page bill and similarly-sized $1.4 trillion spending measure.
The measure calls for 11 weeks of $300 per week federal jobless bonuses, down from the $600 that expired in late July.
Nearly half a million New Jerseyans depend on federal unemployment benefits created under the CARES Act, which could expire on Dec. 26 without a signature from President Donald Trump.
The president on Tuesday sought $2,000 stimulus checks, up from the $600 agreed in the bill. He did not explicitly threaten a veto, but decried the proposed CARES Act sent to his desk over the weekend.
Democrats nationwide, including Gov. Phil Murphy, said they would be on board with such an increase. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been a staunch opponent of higher amount checks, and House Republicans on Wednesday morning blocked Democrat’s efforts to push through the $2,000 stimulus checks.
“I would ask the president, respectfully, to sign this and then come back for something very quickly, thereafter with a bigger amount,” Murphy said at an unrelated event Wednesday morning.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act includes $284 billion for two rounds of forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Loans are capped at $10 million for businesses with up to 300 employees.
Publicly-traded companies are no longer eligible for PPP aid, after an outcry in the spring that they made up many of the well-financed companies able to tap into the money without an actual need for the relief. The bill sets aside $15 billion for live venues, theaters and performing arts centers.
Here are some of the key figures on what’s in store for New Jersey:
Containing the virus
The state would get roughly $103 million to beef up its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, including for distribution and planning, promotion, monitoring and tracking. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, spaced roughly a month apart.
As of Wednesday morning, over 27,000 health care workers received the vaccine, according to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. Another $525.5 million is earmarked for New Jersey’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts.
The statewide transit agency has seen its ridership crater during the pandemic, with many businesses closed, and stay-at-home orders and work-from-home mandates in effect. NJ Transit would get over $1 billion, under the new CARES Act deal, on top of another $640 million in direct federal aid coming down the pipeline.
Amtrak and Gateway
Amtrak would get $1 billion, including $700 million toward the Northeast Corridor, which runs from Washington D.C. and through New Jersey to Boston.
New Jersey’s airports would get $40 million, out of the nationwide $2 billion airport fund created under the bill. That could affect the livelihoods of the more than 23,000 people employed at Newark Liberty International Airport.
United Airlines, which uses Newark Airport as one of its major hubs, has 14,000 employees at the airport.