Congressman Donald Payne made an appearance at the February 16 Maplewood Township Committee meeting to share how he has been representing Maplewood residents.
Payne is advocating for the passage of the American Rescue Plan, a COVID relief bill that includes $1,400 in stimulus payments to eligible Americans, increased unemployment benefits, rental assistance, a freeze on evictions and foreclosures until October, and small business aid.
“We have been adamant about strengthening that program and making sure that the money gets to our small businesses,” Payne said.
If the bill were to pass, Payne calculated that Maplewood would receive $4.7 million in relief. The bill also allocates a total of $160 billion to states to increase COVID-19 vaccination supplies, hire more staff to administer vaccines, and efficiently transport vaccines.
Payne is making an effort to reopen schools safely. He wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services recommending that teachers should be designated as frontline workers, which would help them receive vaccines as soon as possible. Payne also wrote to the Biden administration in support of the Masks for Students Act, which would ensure that all students have access to masks.
“Personally, I’m very committed to getting students back into the classroom safely,” Payne said. “We know how important that in-school education and interaction is for our children.”
When asked about his thoughts on the Capitol riots and former President Donald Trump’s impeachment, Payne said that he respects Republicans who voted to hold Trump accountable.
“To the members of the opposition party that came over and did the right thing, I cannot respect them more for what they’ve done,” Payne said. “They’ve really shown true allegiance to the Constitution, because even Mitch McConnell, after he voted against convicting the president, got up and said that he was guilty, so everybody knows it.”
Payne shared that Congress is working to prevent future attacks.
“We have to keep this from happening again. We are the beacon in the world for democracy, but that beacon has been diminished by what happened on the 6th of January,” Payne said.
To contact Congressman Donald Payne, visit payne.house.gov or call 973-645-3213.