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‘A Slap in the Face': NJ Gov. Calls Out Senate If It Leaves Out Virus Aid to States

Gov. Phil Murphy is calling on the federal government to include aid to states in any upcoming coronavirus relief package

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What to Know

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says schools could lose out on $1 billion in state funding unless the federal government comes through with more aid.
  • The Democrat made his remarks at a briefing during which he criticized Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for proposing a package that leaves out aid for state and local governments.
  • Murphy called the proposal “a slap in the face” to governors who have had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is calling out federal leaders for potentially leaving states out of the latest coronavirus stimulus package proposal.

The first-term New Jersey Democrat called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should aid to states not be included.

The proposal "is a slap in the face to every Governor across the country – Republican and Democrat – who have shouldered the responsibility of responding to this pandemic," Murphy said.

Murphy noted that the $2.4 billion in CARES Act funding New Jersey has already received is not enough moving forward and leaves the state with "no flexibility."

"What New Jersey has gotten back is a drop in the bucket compared to our needs," Murphy – who has continued to call for federal relief to states – said. "Because of this pandemic, we’re undergoing a fiscal crisis the likes of which has only happened twice in our state’s 244-year history – the Civil War and the Great Depression."

Murphy said that the state has already made massive cuts to its budget and that it needs money for health care for unemployed people and to get the upcoming school year off the ground.

"We cannot fully support our districts in the upcoming school year without help from Washington," Murphy said. "We’re staring at a $1 billion cut in aid to our public schools. We’ll have to further cut operating aid to our colleges and universities, which we’ve already cut by over $200 million."

He called on McConnell to include states in the relief to help not only now but to help once the pandemic is over.

"(McConnell's) bill will leave millions out in the stifling summer heat to wither," Murphy said. "It would hurt the very people who are going to rebuild our country stronger after this pandemic passes."

Murphy noted that the longer it takes for the feds to release any relief funds could bump not only into the school year, but up to the budget deadline.

McConnell had yet to reply to Murphy's statements as of Wednesday afternoon.

Murphy has paused reopening plans and held off moving New Jersey into the third phase of restarting from coronavirus shutdowns due to some upticks in key metrics – including rate of transmission – in recent weeks. Many outdoor activities are allowed, while indoor events are more restricted.

Murphy on Wednesday clarified that his earlier order on high-risk contact sports like football only allows for contact outdoors. He said that Martial arts, yoga and Pilates studios can hold classes indoors, but are capped at 25% capacity and everyone must be masked and socially distanced.

Any martial arts contact drills and sparring must be done outdoors.

"We know everyone wants to get back to their old workout routines, but outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities," Murphy said.

Cases and COVID-19-related deaths peaked in New Jersey earlier in the outbreak. With the virus surging in other states, Murphy and the governors of New York and Connecticut have joined together to urge that people entering New Jersey from 31 other states seeing cases surges to self quarantine for 14 days.

As of Wednesday, nearly 178,000 people in New Jersey had tested positive for the new coronavirus, with nearly 400 new cases announced. At least 13,787 confirmed COVID-19 patients had died. Another nearly 2,000 deaths are suspected to be coronavirus-related.

Murphy noted that delays in testing results around the country could be causing some data lag.

Murphy continues to urge people to remain socially distanced and masked when in public.

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