Floor Remarks of Rep. Smith during Debate on COVID-19 Legislation
The following are excerpts of floor remarks on COVID-19 legislation delivered by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on April 23, 2020:
Madame Speaker, in New Jersey, one hundred thousand people have tested positive for COVID-19 with more than five thousand suffering death. Approximately, 40 percent of those who have died are women and men in nursing homes and veterans long term care homes—we grieve their loss.
My constituents have shown remarkable strength, resolve and resiliency—especially those in healthcare, first responders, postal workers, truckers, supermarket employees and others.
Without their courage and sacrifice, things would be far worse.
Signs outside CentraState Medical Center in Freehold say it all—Heroes Work Here.
For our hospitals, the more than $70 billion in this legislation—on top of $100 billion in the CARES Act—is critically needed to sustain our overworked, cash-starved hospitals that risk insolvency in large part because they have been compelled by the government to postpone elective surgeries.
A few days ago, Secretary Mnuchin said 30 million jobs have been saved so far by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Today’s $310 billion replenishment continues and expands this historic bridge to assist businesses with forgivable loans to prevent severe downsizing or bankruptcy.
I grew up in a family-owned small business in Central Jersey. I know these entrepreneurs thrive on working hard, hiring our neighbors and boosting our local economies. The PPP ensures they and their employees survive the pandemic and can return to work when we reopen our state and nation.
I urge passage of this critically important legislation.