WEST ORANGE – No Republican voted for the recent, $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, formally known as the American Rescue Plan.
Republicans and some of their supporters enjoy condemning the plan as excessive and full of “pork.”
Mikie Sherrill is not impressed by any of this.
“The only place this plan is partisan is in Washington,” she said today as she toured a vaccination site at the Washington School. With the House in recess, Sherrill is hopping around her 11th District visiting vaccine sites and constituents directly aided by the stimulus.
She said the stimulus is bipartisan throughout the country, noting that some polls give it a 70 percent approval rating.
That should not be a surprise.
Sherrill said mayors and residents understand how the pandemic has threatened needed public services. And this is not the time to scale back.
One such mayor joined her on the tour. That was Robert Parisi of West Orange.
He hopes federal money coming his way can be used to hold down property taxes.
Sherrill said the thinking behind the bill is to empower local communities to spend the funds the way they want.
Regulations governing how the money is to be spent aren’t ready yet, but Sherrill said that should happen soon.
New Jersey House members from both parties are fond of pointing out, or perhaps griping, about how the state often gets the short end of the stick in terms of federal money. It’s been well documented that on average New Jersey sends more tax money to Washington than it gets back in federal aid.
The pandemic is turning that around, at least for the moment.
Sherrill said that because New Jersey began suffering from COVID before many other states, it stands to do better than others in terms of stimulus aid.
The politics of the bill remain interesting. Some Republicans around the country have prompted scorn by highlighting projects in their states and districts funded by the plan despite not voting for it. That’s normal politics, but it also supports the argument that the stimulus bill is popular.
Also on hand today to watch the vaccine process was Joseph DiVincenzo, the Essex County executive.
He said that Essex has five vaccine sites and that the county already has administered about 240,000 shots.