U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez urged national non-partisan governmental organizations to push President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to boost federal aid to state governments sent into a fiscal tumble by the COVID-19 crisis.
“We need the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Governors Association, in a bipartisan way, to get Republican voices raised so that then we can get the heat at home so they see the light in Washington,” the senator said.
A $2 trillion bailout package passed by Congress and signed by Trump last month included $150 billion in aid for state governments that have seen their budgets upended by the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy and officials in other states, like New York, have said that aid won’t be sufficient.
New Jersey will receive more than $3 billion as part of the bailout, but Murphy has said New Jersey alone would need at least $20 billion to shore up its budget.
Menendez, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, said Democrats pushed for more but where unable to secure additional funds in the face of a Republican-controlled Senate.
“The reality is that when Sen. McConnell presented his bill, it had no monies for state and county governments,” he said. “We had to fight. It was one of the last things that was negotiated was the $150 billion. I had started at $750 billion because I thought that’s where the need was, and we could only get an agreement on $150 billion.”