Phil Murphy

Federal Relief Package is ‘Undershooting,’ Murphy Says

Commenting on the $900-billion relief package that Congress agreed to on Sunday, Gov. Phil Murphy said at his COVID-19 daily briefing that while he is happy to see the House and Senate come to an agreement, “we are undershooting” the amount [of money] needed, and that no one should have a false sense of security that the funding job is done.

“I have said that we are facing a $3-trillion to $4-trillion moment, and history will judge us harshly if we undershoot this moment. We need to keep working because families and businesses need more … our communities and fellow states need more in direct support.

“So, count me in as grateful with this agreement, but do not count me in as satisfied with it.”

Key provisions of the deal, which still has to be voted on by both houses, include:

  • A direct payment check of $600 to adults who earn up to $75,000, and $1,200 for couples filing jointly and earn $150,000 or under. Payments would be reduced for those earning over the limits. Dependent children would also receive $600.
  • An extra $300 per week, for 11 weeks, for people receiving pandemic unemployment insurance.
  • $284 billion for businesses with 300 or fewer employees via the Paycheck Protection Program, and money specifically earmarked for bars and restaurants.
  • $20 billion for economic development loans for small businesses
  • Assistance for nonprofits, local newspapers and television and radio broadcasters
  • $15 billion for live entertainment venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions
  • $18 billion for airlines, airports and contractors
  • $14 billion for transportation agencies
  • $10 billion for highways
  • $30 billion for obtaining and distributing COVID-19 vaccines
  • $22 billion for coronavirus testing
  • $82 billion for schools and colleges
  • $25 billion to states and municipalities for rental assistance and an extension on the moratorium on evictions to Jan. 31
  • $7 billion to bolster broadband access
  • $10 billion in childcare assistance

$10 Million in Preschool Aid

Gov. Murphy also announced that 10 school districts in the state are receiving a total of $10 million in preschool aid to implement or expand early childhood education programs early next year.

Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angeline Allen-McMillan commented that “the expansion of preschool has been a priority of the Murphy administration since day 1, but COVID-19 has shown the critical importance of high-quality, standards-aligned early childhood education.”

Murphy commented, “Our investments in Pre-K are some of the most impactful we can make. Studies have shown that over a lifetime, every dollar invested in early education is repaid many times over.

“This has meant more peace of mind for parents who no longer have to worry about daily childcare while they work,” the governor said. “Pre-K is a win, win, win all around.”

The districts receiving the funds include:



Preschool Education Aid Amount


Egg Harbor Township School District



North Arlington School District



Fairview Public Schools



Lumberton School District



Clementon School District



Hampton School District



Matawan-Aberdeen Regional



Seaside Heights School District



Quinton Township School District



Manville School District


Vaccine Update

The state has registered all five of its developmental centers into the federal government’s pharmacy program in which CVS and Walgreens personnel are administering vaccines to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

According to State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, “We were concerned for the residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as those in group homes and long-term residential facilities. It is critically important to get these residents [and staff members] vaccinated as soon as possible. Their advocates gave voice to the voiceless and opened our eyes to the thousands of individuals in New Jersey who were relying on the Department of Health to make this decision.”

In other news, the Food & Drug Administration, over the weekend, granted Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine Emergency Use Authorization. At the same time, it was reported three days ago that New Jersey is receiving 20% less of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of this month. The state was expecting a total of 492,075 doses, but is now receiving 392,800.

Governor Murphy commended US Army Gen. Gustave Perna, who is responsible for getting the COVID-19 vaccines to the states, for taking responsibility for what Perna said was his own communications error.

“I want to take personal responsibility for the miscommunication,” he said during a telephone briefing this past Saturday. “I know that’s not done much these days. But I am responsible. … This is a Herculean effort and we are not perfect.”

Persichilli added that, today, the Moderna vaccine is being shipped to 18 hospitals, two federally qualified health centers, and two urgent care centers in the state.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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