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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy: $200-odd billion to unemployment insurance fund ‘should be enough’

Governor expresses optimism about possible federal bailout

By Nikita Biryukov, March 24 2020 4:15 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said he believed a national bailout program that provides more than $200 billion to the federal unemployed insurance fund would likely be sufficient to help New Jersey cover skyrocketing unemployment claims spurred by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Sen. [Bob] Menendez, I believe, told me that the unemployed insurance fund was 200-and-something billion. Without having done to-the-fifth-decimal-place math for New Jersey … between the state’s fund and the federal money, that should be enough,” Murphy said.

While exact figures on the state’s rising unemployment rates are scarce at the moment, roughly 15,000 filed online unemployment claims last Monday.

The swell, which almost double the unemployment claims submitted in the first week of March, crashed the online application system.

That wave of applications came before Murphy’s Saturday order that mandated the state’s non-essential businesses close.

Though Democrats and Republicans are reportedly close to a deal, the bailout package is still being negotiated.

Some measure of aid for the federal unemployment insurance fund will almost certainly exist in the final version, though the numbers may change before it reaches President Donald Trump’s desk.

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