Congress this week is expected to approve the American Rescue Plan put forth by President Joe Biden to help the nation rebound from the pandemic

The legislation would put an additional $1,400 in people's pockets while also providing additional support for the Garden State.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the Rescue Plan lays out a coordinated national strategy to crush the virus.

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New Jersey would get about $6.5 billion in direct state aid with $3 billion for local governments and $2.5 billion for schools.

The package also extends unemployment benefits through August and boosts the extra weekly payment by $100, to $400 a week.

States also will share $7.5 billion for vaccine distribution as well as a billion dollars to promote public confidence in the vaccine.

“People, particularly low-income people [and] minorities are not confident to take the vaccine,” he said, which many have explained as being a result in historical distrust in the medical community because of racist treatment and notorious cases involving medical research such as the Tuskegee Study and Henrietta Lacks. 

He noted there is also $25 billion to address healthcare disparities in low-income and minority populations.

The legislation also provides $46 bullion for testing and contact tracing and $1.75 billion for genomic sequencing to fight COVID-19 variants.

Pallone said $7.7 billon is included in the package to bring in additional public workers.

“We don’t have enough people to do all this, whether it’s the vaccine, whether it’s contact tracing. We’re going to hire another 100,000 people," he said.

“We have another $4 billion for mental health programs for treatment,” Pallone said. “We know that during this crisis that a lot of people are stressed out.”

He said a second piece of legislation to be put forth this spring would expand plans to provide additional economic stimulus for the nation.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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