Shaheen calls for resumption of bipartisan negotiations on COVID-19 relief legislation
WASHINGTON – Wednesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called for the resumption of bipartisan negotiations on comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation to help struggling Granite Staters and Americans. Over the past several months, Shaheen has heard from health care providers, nursing homes, small business owners, teachers and school administrators and more on what they are seeing on the frontlines of this pandemic. In her remarks, Shaheen highlighted their experiences and concerns, underscored the increasing severity of the COVID-19 crisis and urged Senators to put aside partisan politics once and for all to deliver the help Americans desperately need. Shaheen also urged the Trump administration to work together with the Biden-Harris Transition Team to ensure a smooth transition of power that facilitates the swift distribution of two potential COVID-19 vaccines to states and communities.
Shaheen’s remarks came as New Hampshire and the nation continue to grapple with the immense health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 162,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday, while New Hampshire reached 500 deaths from the disease earlier this week. 46 states, including New Hampshire, have suffered severe revenue reductions over the course of the pandemic, with New Hampshire officials predicting losses to exceed $500 million by next July. In addition, critical assistance for hard-hit Americans, including unemployment insurance and eviction protections, is due to expire at the end of this year.
Senator Shaheen warned of the dire conditions for Granite Staters and Americans impacted by this crisis and the urgent need for a robust response from Congress, stating, “We’re looking at this downward spiral that is going to get ever worse if we do nothing to address the needs of our businesses, people who are unemployed, hospitals, childcare centers and our schools. It’s critical that we come to some agreement.”
Senator Shaheen closed her remarks with a call for bipartisanship and for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to join her in committing every effort to move forward on bipartisan negotiations on COVID-19 relief, adding, “I’m going to be continuing to do everything I can… and I hope that all of my colleagues here will do the same, that we will all double down on the efforts… we should help the people who need help because they are struggling, and it’s not going to get any better unless we provide some assistance.”
Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to deliver COVID-19 relief to New Hampshire. Shaheen has met with small businesses from throughout the state during this crisis, including just last week with representatives from the hospitality and tourism industries. She continues to call for the passage of the HEROES Small Business Lifeline Act, legislation she introduced that would allow many businesses and nonprofits within the industry to access a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. She has fought for the inclusion of financial assistance to support the state, cities and towns during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as additional resources for New Hampshire nursing facilities and health care providers. Shaheen has sought to deliver funding to schools to allow them to overcome the financial challenges of the pandemic, and has urged FEMA to reverse a policy change that ends federal reimbursements for purchases of masks, disinfectants, testing supplies and other personal protective equipment (PPE) by states for schools and public buildings.