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Washington Review, September 3, 2021

Sep 3, 2021
Washington Review

This week, we unfortunately lost members of our community because of the flooding and intense winds and rains of Tropical Storm Ida. I am very grateful to the brave first responders who provided lifesaving aid to those in need. It will take time to recover from the devastation of this storm, especially for those who have lost friends and family members. In response, I joined the New Jersey Congressional delegation to request President Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) provide all necessary resources under a Major Disaster Declaration for all 21 counties of New Jersey.

In addition, this week, I signed on to a letter urging Congressional leadership to include an increase to the spending cap for the World Trade Center Health Plan in the budget reconciliation. I also cosponsored the Social Security 2100 Act to support seniors and strengthen the Social Security trust fund.

  • Letters
  • Cosponsored Legislation

Letters

This week, in response to Tropical Storm Ida, I joined the New Jersey Congressional delegation in a letter to President Biden requesting a Major Disaster Declare for all 21 counties of New Jersey. President Biden approved our request, authorizing FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts. FEMA’s assistance is crucial to saving lives, recovering property, and protecting the public health moving forward. Please continue to listen to local authorities for updated safety guidance and visit http://ready.nj.gov/.

I also signed on to a letter, led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), asking Congressional leadership to include an increase to the spending cap for the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) in the budget reconciliation. As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we remember the devastation of those attacks and the thousands of lives lost. It is important to recognize and continue to support first responders, relief workers, and residents who were exposed to toxic burning chemicals, pulverized drywall, and powdered cement. WTCHP provides medical treatment for more than 110,000 responders and survivors, and their work should not be hindered by funding shortfalls. In addition to supporting this letter, I have cosponsored H.R. 4965, the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act, also introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney. This legislation would ensure adequate funding for WTCHP and authorize research on the effects of toxic exposure and psychological trauma.

Cosponsored Legislation

This week, I cosponsored H.R. 2100, the Social Security Act, introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT). This legislation would increase benefits for current and new beneficiaries, improve the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), increase the minimum benefit to protect low-income workers, cut taxes for beneficiaries, and strengthen the Social Security trust fund. This legislation would expand support for beneficiaries, while ensuring that the system remains solvent.

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 manage all voice messages left. If you reached out to us through phone or e-mail, please expect an e-mail response. Be sure to check your spam or junk folders for a response from our office. 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 instructions to be connected to my staff or 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. In order to browse health care plans you can 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 fosters students’ interest in STEM and computer science, 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.