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Posted on: June 12, 2020

Sen. Menendez, Mayor Passanante Join Colleagues on National Briefing

Our partners in Washington, the National League of Cities (NLC) hosted a ‘Protecting and Growing America’s Economic Recovery’ virtual Hill briefing. This is a part of NLC’s ‘Cities Are Essential’ campaign, which looks to convince Congress that a swift and certain recovery will only be possible if municipalities – no matter their size – get the support they need from the Federal government.

We want to thank Senator Bob Menendez for participating in the briefing, and for all he is doing to advance the SMART bill – a strong, bipartisan effort to advance state and local aid. We also want to thank NLC for inviting League Board Member and Somerdale Mayor Gary Passanante to ask Senator Menendez some of the questions that are on the minds of local officials all around New Jersey, and across the Nation. And we want to thank Mayor Passanante for representing his colleagues on this webinar.

“Somerdale is a small borough of about 5,500 people… Somerdale knows what it means to overcome adversity,’’ Mayor Passanante said. ‘’But in my over 24 years as mayor, we have never faced the public health, the public safety, the impact on local businesses, the community social stress, and the local finance issues that we are facing this year, and that we expect to be facing, on into next year.”

“This isn’t a blue state, red state issue,’’ Senator Menendez affirmed. ‘’We are part of the United States… And after COVID-19, if we do the right things, like give aid to states and municipalities, we can ultimately be more resilient and more prepared for whatever the next health challenge might come our way.”

You can access a recording of the NLC June 11 Economic Recovery Virtual Hill Briefing on the NLC website. The link will take you to a registration page, where you will be asked to enter your name and e-dress, then take you to the video.

Irma Esparza Diggs, NLC’s Senior Executive and Director of Federal Advocacy, presented the statistics that clearly prove the crucial need for Federal Action. You can view that slide deck here.

As communities seek to stabilize local government operations, keep workers on the job, and maintain essential services to grow the economy, the key feature of the conversation was the local-federal partnership needed for the national economic recovery.

Senator Menendez continues his work to build on the bipartisan coalition that has joined him in sponsoring the SMART bill, which creates a $500 billion fund to help states and all local governments respond to the current public health and economic crisis, while maintaining essential services. The bill would also increase flexibility for states and local governments to use the funds to address the lost revenue impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. For more detail about the SMART bill see our May 18 advisory.

Again, our thanks to Senator Menendez, and to Senator Booker, who cosponsors the SMART bill. Thanks to Mayor Passanante for his strong advocacy. Thanks to NLC for all their efforts on behalf of all American municipalities – no matter their size. And our thanks to those of you who reached out to our U.S. Senators and your Members of the House, urging them to appreciate all you are doing, and the impact of the virus on your budgets.

Don’t stop now!

Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.

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