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Washington Review, September 15, 2021

Sep 15, 2021
Washington Review

Last week, I attended a resources event in Elizabeth with Mayor Chris Bollwage to speak with residents impacted by Tropical Storm Ida and worked with the Biden administration to request that Union, Essex, and Hudson counties be added to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster declaration in New Jersey. Last Friday, FEMA announced that these counties would be added to the disaster declaration, making residents eligible for FEMA resources to rebuild their homes and businesses.  

Resources Event in Elizabeth

Last Wednesday, I attended an event organized by the City of Elizabeth to connect residents impacted by Tropical Storm Ida with community resources. My staff were there to answer questions and connected residents with federal resources. At the event, I had the opportunity to thank volunteers and listen to the stories of those who were affected by the devastating floods. I will continue to advocate for our community as we work to recover from Tropical Storm Ida.

Letters

Last week, I joined several letters to request additional aid for the state of New Jersey in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ida. Twenty-seven New Jerseyans lost their lives during the storm and its aftermath, and many communities have experienced tremendous property damage. Federal funding is critical for our state to recover and rebuild from this storm. On Wednesday, I joined my colleagues in the New Jersey delegation to urge Congressional leadership to provide emergency funding for New Jersey.

I also joined my New Jersey delegation colleagues to urge FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to add Essex, Hudson, and Union counties to the major disaster declaration in New Jersey. In addition to the tragic loss of life in Union County and Essex County, all three counties suffered significant property damage. Damages to public property in Hudson County alone total more than $35 million.

On September 10, FEMA expanded the major disaster declaration to include Hudson, Union, and Essex counties. The expanded declaration will ensure that residents in these counties are eligible to apply for funding through FEMA’s Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs. Residents can apply for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov.

Current Washington D.C. Office Status

My staff continue to work remotely during this time. Please know we continue to monitor our phone system, so while we are unable to speak directly with you, we receive all voice messages. If you reached out to us through phone or e-mail, please expect an e-mail response and be sure to check your spam or junk folders. We appreciate your understanding as we all navigate working through the pandemic.

Vaccination Efforts

Vaccines are now available to all individuals 12 and older who live, work, or study in New Jersey. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, as a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19. To find your nearest vaccine location and make an appointment, please visit Vaccines.gov. 

Please know that I will continue working to get the 8th District the resources it needs. If you have questions or need assistance, please call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-7919 and follow the instructions to be connected to my staff. You may also send an email to NJ8inquiries@mail.house.gov.

Open Enrollment

This year, instead of using the federal marketplace, New Jersey will switch to their own state-run marketplace. To browse health care plans, visit: www.nj.gov/getcoverednj. Here you will be able to compare available plans, review financial assistance options, and select a plan that is best for you. This new marketplace is easy to use and helps to clearly identify plans that will be most beneficial to you. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial we leave no one behind and that everyone has access to affordable health care. If you need a health care plan, be sure to visit the site.

Congressional App Challenge

The Congressional App Challenge is now open for submissions and all middle school and high school students are encouraged to participate. To foster students’ interest in STEM, this annual coding challenge tasks students with developing an original app, covering any theme and using any platform or coding language they choose. Winners of the challenge may be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building. Students can submit their app design until November 1, 2021. Please see CongressionalAppChallenge.us for more information and to register.