Senate Will Establish ‘Review & Recovery’ Committee to Investigate COVID Related Crises

Insider NJ's Fred Snowflack provides an analysis of the ongoing NJ 2020 budget struggle, where Gov. Phil Murphy is withholding $235 million in spending until he is sure the state could pay for it. Senate President Steve Sweeney now wants state Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to comment on when the funds will be released.

The Senate will establish a special committee to investigate a range of issues related to the coronavirus crisis, working to identify immediate and long-term remedies to the social, governmental and financial problems caused by the pandemic, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. announced today.

The bi-partisan “Review and Recovery Committee” will investigate the surge of COVID-19 fatalities in the state’s long term care facilities and prisons, the breakdown of the unemployment system, the disproportionate impact on minority communities, and the multi-year fiscal challenges to state and local government, and other consequences of the biggest public health crisis in a century.

“This is the biggest public health crisis in more than a century with consequences on the lives and livelihoods of so many sectors of society,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It has created crises for a range of communities and exposed social and governmental failures that need to be addressed. This panel will work to rectify immediate problems and to make systemic reforms to prevent them from happening again. This is about getting answers and making improvements, not about casting blame.”

“Senate Republicans called for the formation of this committee to improve transparency and accountability and provide important oversight of the administration’s response to COVID-19,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. “It’s clear that mistakes were made and important lessons can be learned to improve the State’s response as we move forward. It’s our sincere hope that this bipartisan review will save lives and help New Jersey to recover with strength and resiliency.”

The Senate will vote on the enabling resolution creating the committee in the coming weeks.

The committee’s fact-finding hearings will work to identify governmental and social problems caused, exposed or made worse by the pandemic, and make recommendations to address the immediate problems, prevent them from reoccurring and to develop long-range improvements.

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