This is a critical week for New Jersey.
This week the United
States Congress will vote on a Sandy Relief Package that will provide
$60.4 billion to help New Jersey and other states recover and rebuild
from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.
While $60 billon
is an incredible amount of money, numbers alone fail to paint the full
picture of what we have seen throughout New Jersey. The full story
lies in the faces of displaced people who find themselves homeless;
their possessions and keepsakes gone. The full story lies with the
small business owners who have had to shut their doors.
preliminary damage estimate provided by Governor Christie is now up to
$36.9 billion. So $60.4 billion in federal disaster relief
funding to be spread across the region is a good start. But we must
pass the Sandy Relief Package quickly, and in its entirety, so we can
tell New Jerseyans that they are not alone; that all Americans are in
this together. This vote says that we are ready as a nation to
help families, businesses, and communities recover.
Yesterday, on the Senate floor, I once again
made the case for New Jersey. I made the case for New
Jersey families and small businesses still trying to recover; for
homeowners in Little Ferry; shopkeepers in Moonachie; for every family who
lost property and possessions all along the Jersey Shore and across
the State; for our commuters who rely on public transportation to get
to school and work; for those who lost power and went without
And, while some of my Republican colleagues may not be able to
fathom the sheer scope of the damage, I explained that entire
neighborhoods -- where several generations of families lived in close-knit
communities – are now gone; that thousands of decades-old small
businesses are ruined. I pointed out that even though those scenes
are no longer showing in living rooms across the country, it
doesn’t mean that the recovery is over.
The need is clear for
the passage of the entire Sandy Relief Package. A piecemeal
recovery will be a stalled recovery and, in all likelihood, a failed
recovery. And failure to recover and rebuild New Jersey’s
infrastructure, economy, small businesses and communities is not an
This is one country: the United States of America.
And when there was destruction along the entire Gulf Coast with
Katrina, or a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, or crop destruction in the
Midwest, we have come together as a nation to support these
communities. The time is now for all members of Congress to stand with
New Jersey, just as we have stood with them in times of crisis and
New Jersey has been battered, but we are
not broken. We are stronger and more united in our efforts to work
together to recover, rebuild, and recommit ourselves to uniting
around our common concerns and shared values. That is the lesson we
have learned, and together we will rebuild. The Garden State will
bloom once again.
And I for one will not rest until the
rebuilding is done.