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NJ Rep. Josh Gottheimer: 'I’m sick and tired of all those states mooching and when we get hit with a crisis it’s not their problem'

Rep. Josh Gottheimer joins the On the Move panel to discuss the latest on the stimulus talks and Trump’s tax plans.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: The stimulus impasse continues in Washington. And meantime, President Trump is floating various ideas to do stimulus of his own. Most recently, yesterday he talked about perhaps some tax cuts during a press conference. Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP: We're looking at also considering a capital gains tax cut, which would create a lot more jobs. So we're looking very seriously at a capital gains tax cut, and also at an income tax cut for middle-income families. We're looking at expanding the tax cuts that we've already done, but specifically for middle income families. And you'll be hearing about that in the upcoming few weeks.

JULIE HYMAN: Let's talk more about what the president is proposing, potentially, and also what Congress is up to. We're joined now by representative Josh Gottheimer. He's a Democrat of New Jersey from the Fifth District of New Jersey, which is Northern New Jersey. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Thanks for having me.

JULIE HYMAN: I want to talk to you about some of these ideas that the president has floated, because, of course, he also signed an executive order to send $400 stimulus checks. It's unclear when that's going to happen. The payroll tax cut, now he's talking about capital gains tax cuts, a middle income tax cut. And clearly, he's doing this in part because of politics, but in part because Congress is not getting it done.

I mean, what-- what's going on there? I mean, I know you're not watching currently. But what is happening in Washington that these things are not getting done?

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Well, I mean, as you know, there's been negotiations going on now for weeks. We passed a package out of the House more than two and a half months ago called the HEROES Act, which was what we think is the best next step forward. And very open to the Senate acting. The Senate hasn't acted. It hasn't actually passed any legislation for us to work together.

But in the meantime, we have been sitting at the table and trying to get something done. We need to go-- everyone needs to go back to the table and I think continue working on this. What the president has proposed, some of them Band-Aids, and some of them actually won't really do much.

So it's really important that actually Congress has to act here to get things done. And clearly, whether you're talking about small business loans or PPP or relief directly to families to help put food on the table or more resources for testing and PPE, all the protective gear that we need going into the fall, these are key resources we've got to get out there. You see how the virus continues to spread throughout the country. So we need to act.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Congressman, one of your colleagues, Representative Reed, I think, proposed one of the ways to get past this issue with the White House and Congress over funding states and cities by targeting the monies that would come from the federal government. What do you think of that idea?

Because you were the sponsor of, I think, it was the Anti-Moocher Bill years ago. And that wasn't about Anthony Scaramucci.

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Well, I think the SMART Act, which Tom Reed and I've worked on with Senator-- in the House and Senator Menendez in the Senate and Senator Cassidy, so it's bipartisan legislation, to actually get dollars to state and local. This is a big point of contention here in the negotiations. We've got many states have been hit very hard, New York and New Jersey, Tom is and where I am in New Jersey have been hit very hard with 50% of the cases for a very long time. $20 billion hole it's left in New Jersey because the costs of COVID.

We can't just walk away from states that have been through a pandemic in a crisis. And I think that's a key part of this legislation. It's very intriguing to me, speaking of moochers, all these other states like Kentucky, as you saw the majority leader talk about yesterday in the Senate, going after Jersey-- Kentucky has been mooching off of Jersey, getting more than $2.50 on the dollar for every dollar it pays into federal government for years, whereas states like mine have been paying their bills.

So I'm sick and tired of all those states mooching. And then when we get hit with a crisis, they walk away and say it's not our problem. In the meantime, we're always there, as we should be for each other, when there's a flood or a tornado or a hurricane. You step up. You get their backs. You do the right thing.

And now suddenly all these states, these moocher states say, well, it's not my problem. And I think that's a bit of a joke.

DAN HOWLEY: Representative, this is Dan Howley. I want to ask kind of what you're looking at as far as trying to make sure that smaller municipalities in states that are particularly hit-- hard hit are going to be taken care of. We talk about how New York City, the larger cities and megalopolises have been hit. But there's the smaller towns that don't have the tax base to really make up for any big losses. How are you looking to try to ensure that they're taken care of moving forward?

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Oh, that's spot on. I mean, part of the legislation that I just mentioned to you, the SMART Act, which I helped introduce, goes to municipalities of any size, because I represent many rural parts of New Jersey that have been hit very hard. And there's a gap, obviously, in terms of revenue coming in.

And we need to help them. They put out a lot of money for testing and for their frontline health workers and their first responders. We need to help them make that up. And we've got to do it for a lot of our suburbs.

The good news is through the bipartisan CARES packages, the three and a half that we've passed together, has had a lot of resources that have gone directly to families, of course, and the hospitals and to frontline health care workers, and through-- for testing and through PPP and those direct payments, and, of course, unemployment insurance. I mean, hundreds of millions of dollars have gone out to help our communities. But there's more that we need to do, because this has gone on longer than any of us expected.

So I think, to your point, we've got to do-- that's why it's so important that we pass another package for our economy to help folks through this, put food on the table, but also to make sure that it's not limited-- any program whatsoever is not limited in size in terms of what size of the community that it goes to.

JULIE HYMAN: Congressman, I also want to ask you about schools. We talked to the head of the largest teachers union yesterday. We just spoke to a professional earlier in the show whose job it is to provide school lunches. And it seems like no one's happy about the current situation, teachers probably least of all.

What's the status in your district? What's the status in New Jersey? Do you feel like schools have the funding they need to reopen safely?

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Well, just yesterday, to your point on school breakfast and school lunch, I was just visiting a program in Lodi, New Jersey that the Boys and Girls Club that helps get food out for breakfast and lunch during the week, and then has boxes that they give to families for the weekends, which are so important because especially with 16% unemployment and tough times and people aren't-- weren't in school in the spring, and this is a problem in the fall. You have to find ways to get food out to our kids and, of course, to our seniors and most vulnerable. That goes without saying, the very, very poor. We put resources in the CARES package to make that happen.

To your other question just about schools reopening, I mean, I think the only way to do it is to do it safely. I know there's a lot of concerns. I've talked to teachers. I've talked to superintendents. I've talked to a lot of parents.

I think people want to get their kids back to school. I think we all do. We just want to make sure it's safe. And a lot of our schools have developed programs that have been-- like my kid's school district, which is able to socially distance and cohort classrooms and make sure that-- they're not in every day, but they've got to at least get in a little bit. And we've got to make sure that our teachers are, of course, safe, and those who are-- have more vulnerable issues are not in the classroom if they're high risk.

And it's a lot to ask out of our school districts and our local communities. But they're doing a great job. But you're right. There's still a lot of questions that are out there.

And we've got only a few weeks left here in the Northeast to figure out exactly what the rules of the road are. So I think the key is-- for our economy is to see we've got to get kids back. But we've got to get them back safely and make sure that the kids are safe and, of course, the teachers and administrators are safe.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Can you share with us what you might hear from your leadership on the Democratic side, from Nancy Pelosi about where the compromise will take place with the White House?

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Well, of course, we give out the compromise, and then it's hard to negotiate in public on these things. I'll tell you that on a lot of-- we are certainly willing, as both sides need to be, to move off of our positions and to get something done. It means you're not going to get everything you want. But the key is both sides have to feel like they get most of what they want.

And right now, a lot of what was presented in the negotiations last week and the week before were nonstarters. And so you can't do nothing for state and local governments. That's just unacceptable for those of us that have been hit so hard.

And you certainly need to make sure that you take care of families and when-- and that there's food on the table. And you've got to look after issues like evictions, which are critical. It's, as you know, not an easy negotiation. But none of these things are.

The key is folks have to stay in the room. And if through any of these negotiations-- and I'm sure many of you have done many negotiations in your career-- if you walk away, nothing gets done. So I'm really-- and the Problem Solvers Caucus, which I co-chair, which is 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, we're all encouraging our leadership to get back into the room and to stay in the room until we get something done.

JULIE HYMAN: Well, hopefully they'll listen to you. Thank you so much, Congressman. Representative Josh Gottheimer--

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Great to see you.

JULIE HYMAN: --of Northern New Jersey.

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Thanks so much.

JULIE HYMAN: You too. Thank you very much.

JOSH GOTTHEIMER: Stay safe.