NEW JERSEY — The country has faced many pressing issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on families and businesses to an increase in gun violence, national unrest and calls for police reform.
In just the first few months of the administration, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have unveiled big plans to tackle some of those issues.
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez discussed what’s being done in Washington D.C. and how it will help local residents.
Is there anything being done on a national level?
Sen. Menendez said they are reviewing several pieces of legislation at the federal level.
The Biden Administration’s Attorney General is in the midst of looking at what type of reform should and will take place.
“Police officers have a tough job everyday, we depend upon them for our public safety, by the same token there has to be a standard that is nationally set,” he said.
Shootings and gun reform
What will it take for congress to pass a ban on assault weapons?
Menedez said he believes in universal background checks, but also said there has been hesitancy or no support in gun reforms on the GOP side.
“What is it going to take to have republicans in Congress join democrats to ultimately have the type of common sense gun legislation?” he asked.
“When it comes to the question of reasonable gun safety measures, there’s not a lot of willingness on the republican side to join us,” Menedez said.
What will Congress be doing? Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer has said there will be a debate and votes on the floor, according to Menendez.
Immigration and the crisis at the border
Menendez acknowledged there has been a significant surge in people trying to come into the country.
He said they are looking into an in-country application for seeking asylum
“We need to change the dynamics,” he said.
Drinking water and lead in NJ
Old pipes have been replaced.
By replacing old pipes, officials have created safe drinking water into Bloomfield residents’ homes and hope can be replicated for other towns.
Speaking of bipartisanship, the Senate passed a safe drinking water infrastructure bill on a unanimous base, according to Menendez.
Congestion pricing in NYC
New Jersey drivers are already paying the highest fares, Menendez said.
Despite loving New York, Menendez said “it makes no sense even on the policy.”
The NJ senator also pointed out that if New York charges more for people going through the bridge, more drivers will go through tunnels, which will cause more congestion.