As 111th Congress Begin, Sen. Menendez Says Stimulus is Pressing Need for Local, National Economy
Before heading to Washington, Menendez is joined by local leaders, union officials to discuss importance of federal investment in critical local projects. NJ lost more than 34,000 jobs through first 11 months of 2008.
Before heading to Washington for this week's beginning of the 111th Congress, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) spoke today about the pressing need for the passage of an effective economic stimulus package to address the economic recession that has caused more than 34,000 jobs losses in New Jersey through the first 11 months of 2008. Appearing with Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise and local labor union leaders, Senator Menendez said that federal funding for critical infrastructure, construction and energy projects as well as a middle class tax cut is the type of effective stimulus package that is needed. The group spoke standing next to the Pulaski Skyway, a 76 year-old bridge that is need of significant reinforcement and restoration and could benefit from a stimulus package.
"As we get to business in Congress, we do so with the full understanding that, above everything else, the economic crisis is hitting people hard, here in New Jersey, across the country and the world," said Senator Menendez. "This crisis is taking away people's jobs, their homes and their life savings. So addressing the economy is not just our first order of business - it's our first, second and third orders of business."
Senator Menendez continued: "We are working to craft and quickly pass an economic stimulus bill that invests money in the most effective way possible - with effective' being the key word. We're not talking about spending money just for the sake of it to create the appearance that we're taking action. What we're talking about is smart investment in the types of local projects and programs that actually create jobs, fuel our economy and help create the conditions necessary for a turnaround."
Senator Menendez went on to say that the types of projects would be effective as part of a stimulus should fit three criteria:
Spur job creation
Address a critical need for the community
Are ready to be started quickly
Among the projects Senator Menendez mentioned as possible ways to effectively stimulate the economy were:
Critical infrastructure projects, such as restoration of the Pulaski Skyway and scores of other road, bridge and bypass restoration and construction
Mass transit projects, including the establishment of a stream of funding for the ARC tunnel across the Hudson
School construction and restoration
Energy projects, such as funding for Senator Menendez's Energy Efficiency Block Grants program to help municipalities conserve energy and funding to help residents weatherize their houses and cut down energy bills
Senator Menendez also expressed hope that the middle-class tax cuts touted by President-elect Barack Obama on the campaign trail will be included in the stimulus package. President-elect Obama has made signing an effective economic stimulus package his top priority for the beginning of his presidency in order to address the recession immediately. Congressional leadership is working to craft and vote on a stimulus package in the next few weeks.