This week we hit a major milestone in the work Democrats have been doing throughout the country to expand access to healthcare coverage. We are now at a U.S. record low with only 8% of Americans uninsured.
This landmark achievement would not be possible without the work Democrats have done – and continue to do – to pass, protect and expand the Affordable Care Act at the national level, and to protect and expand healthcare coverage at the state level. Of course there is more work to do to ensure every person in the United States is covered, but Democrats will continue working to make sure that no one must choose between feeding their family and accessing healthcare.
GOV. MURPHY UPDATE
On Monday, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited New Jersey to break ground – again – on the new Portal North Bridge construction alongside Governor Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez, Representatives Watson-Coleman, Pascrell and Payne, and many other local officials.
This major infrastructure project will finally replace the 112 year-old Portal Bridge which has plagued commuters for years. The project is also estimated to create around 15,000 jobs. The Portal Bridge is the busiest rail bridge in the nation, used by about 450 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains each day and carrying around 200,000 passengers.
This is also the first project started as part of the revitalized Gateway Program that will be rehabilitating and improving a 10 mile stretch of railroad between Newark and New York on the North East Corridor and building new tunnels underneath the Hudson River.
The project would not be possible without the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure bill passed by President Biden, which allocated federal funding to major projects that will benefit our nation.
This week, despite surprising efforts by Republicans to derail the legislation, Democrats in the Senate passed the PACT Act to protect our veterans. The bill addresses illnesses from exposure to toxic burn pits and expands presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure, and also includes Senator Menendez’ bill, the Improving Benefits for Gulf War Veterans Act, which will expand access to essential benefits for veterans who served in the Gulf War and other wars in the region.
The bill passed by a margin of 86 to 11, with all 11 votes being from Republican Senators. Senator Menendez called Republicans out for their hypocrisy, and he was joined by comedian and former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart who has become an inspiration for his advocacy for veterans and 9/11 first responders.
PRESIDENT BIDEN UPDATE
Voters in Kansas turned out in record numbers this week to vote down an amendment to the state’s constitution that would have banned abortion even in the case of rape or incest. In a state that Trump won by 15 points in 2020, the 59-41 win for abortion rights was decisive. The results of this election show that whether in Kansas, New Jersey, or anywhere in between, voters support abortion rights and will push back on any attempts to put the government in charge of women’s healthcare decisions.
President Biden has also issued a new executive order in support of abortion rights that will:
- Support patients traveling out of state for abortion care or other medical care;
- Ensure healthcare providers comply with federal non-discrimnation law; and
- Promote research and data collection on maternal health outcomes
On behalf of the NJDSC, I would also like to extend our condolences to the family, friends, and staff of Republican Representative Jackie Walorski and her staff members of Indiana who were killed in a car accident on Wednesday.
— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.
P.S. Thank you to everyone who attended the mixer yesterday hosted by our LGBTQ+ Caucus in Jersey City!