Saving Our Small Businesses, Creating Jobs, Winning the War on Covid-19
Release Unspent SBA and PPP Small Business Loan Funds.
The Federal Government should immediately release the remaining $135 Billion in unspent funds appropriated for small business loans, and reopen the application process for small business owners that employ fewer than 100 people. Priority should be given to business under state mandate to remain closed, and those which have not been allowed to fully reopen.
Re-domesticate the manufacture of medical and pharmaceutical supplies from China. Starting Now.
The United States made a mistake when we allowed the manufacture of essential medical and pharmaceutical supplies in China. We do not have a reliable domestic supply chain for medical equipment, ventilators, drugs or ‘point of care’ testing needed for the winter season.
We’ve learned during the pandemic that China is not and will never be a trusted trading partner. No American can expect that drugs manufactured in China meet the same rigorous standards required of producers who operate on American soil. It is time to for drug and medical companies to shutter their facilities in China and bring those jobs back to New Jersey.
Congress needs to return to Washington, and do the job they are paid to do, for doing nothing is driving our economy deeper into the ditch.
Both sides in Washington agree that another stimulus bill is needed for businesses that have not been allowed to reopen, testing and protective equipment for schools so children can get the education they deserve, restaurants that have not been allowed to reopen, and help for those who have lost jobs, health insurance and health care during the pandemic. Both sides need to get back to the bargaining table. While the recent decline in the national unemployment rate is good news, New Jersey’s unemployment rate 13%, and more than 600,000 are without a job. They lost jobs no fault of their own, and deserve help putting food on the table, staying current on their mortgage or paying the rent.
Increase the rate of Covid-19 testing and increase the supply of rapid coronavirus tests.
Until people feel save returning to work, sending their children to schools, getting on planes, staying in hotels, and dining in restaurants, our economy will not fully flourish. Washington needs to get off the dime, increasing the manufacture and supply of instant coronavirus test kits so that anybody who wants one can take a test. Test kits should be supplied free of charge to small business owners so that customers can patronize their establishments absent fear of getting sick.
Spend the money New Jersey has already received from the federal government.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) allocated 2.4 billion to New Jersey when it was signed into law by President Trump on March 17, 2020. Governor Murphy was given permission to share the funds with county and local governments, and use it for Covid-19 testing and grants to businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.
As of late July, only 10% of the funds had been spent. Meanwhile, cash-strapped local governments which employ police, first-responders and emergency medical personnel have had to go begging for funds to keep communities safe and healthy. Small businesses have had to close their doors, lay off workers, and file for bankruptcy protection waiting on the Governor’s permission to open their doors.
The Governor should spend the money he’s been given to help people in need.
Restore the State and Local Tax Deduction
Of all the punitive acts of the 115th Congress, none were more so than capping the state and local tax deduction. The provision raised taxes on New Jersey homeowners, families with children and made it more difficult for school districts to maintain rigorous academic standards. No federal tax code should penalize Americans for where they live. Restoring the State and Local Tax deduction in the federal tax code will be my priority as your next U.S. Senator.
Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform
America no longer has an immigration policy. Nor does it have secure borders. As a result, we don’t know who is here. We don’t know how they got here. State and local governments are forced to hire specialized staff, emergency medical personnel and teachers who speak multiple foreign languages. Police are often confronted by foreign nationals who smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States, and engage in violence to protect illegal drug distribution territories.
Comprehensive immigration reform must start with secure borders, and a legislative package that clearly establishes who is permitted to enter the United States, who is allowed to apply for citizenship, who must leave when their visa or temporary work permit expires. When that is done, we can have a civilized debate about policies for dreamers and the undocumented who currently live on American soil.
Make Health Insurance and Health Care Affordable
As a doctor and pharmacist, I have seen the worst of American health care. Medical care is too expensive. Drugs are too expensive. Health insurance deductibles are outrageously high and for many, health insurance is unaffordable. The United States has the highest health care costs of any country in the developed world, yet we lag behind other developed countries in life expectancy, infant mortality, and early death by heart disease.
There are too many regulatory burdens imposed on medical professionals, too much needless paperwork, too little competition among health care providers and health insurance companies. Health insurance providers are forced to issue one-size-fits-all policies that force consumers to pay for care they don’t need nor will ever use. The federal and state governments cannot possibly regulate every aspect of American health care and expect it to work. It is time to allow the marketplace to do what it does best—by creating competition among health insurers, hospitals and medical providers, and allowing health insurance companies to sell customized policies tailored to the needs of the customers who buy them. When the marketplace is allowed to work, it will do what it does best—drive prices down and improve the quality of care.
Win the Cold War with China
The greatest and gravest long-term threat to future generations of Americans lies in a land halfway around the globe. We have allowed China to pilfer millions of American jobs, steal our technology, violate our trade agreements, manipulate their currency, build an economy that rivals ours, and a Navy that exceeds the size of ours.
They have usurped the lands and resources of our allies in the South China Sea, commandeered islands, installed missiles in a territory so vast that they can choke the life out of the economies of Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. China does not wish us well. Their Communistic values conflict with our love of Democracy. It’s a surveillance state that locks the innocent in concentration camps. Those who dare speak truth are arrested. Those who dare question communist evil are killed. They persecute Christians and Muslims who worship the same God we do. They are exporting their culture and brutality to foreign lands quicker than we are exporting our culture and our values.
I mention what will be THE challenge of our nation in the years ahead because in order to resist the ambitions of a country that would render us a second-rate power, we must form a more perfect union here at home. The United States alone cannot afford to wage a hot or cold war with an Empire halfway around the globe. We must form an alliance with freedom loving democracies around the world, speak with a unified voice, and through pressure, technology, tariffs and trade policy, stop China’s aggression and violations of international law.