COVID-19 Relief Clears Congress with Key Priorities Secured by Shaheen, Heads to President’s Desk
**Shaheen helped secure significant federal aid for state & local governments facing severe budgetary shortfalls.**
**Shaheen successfully included portions of her legislation in COVID package to lower costs and expand access to health care for more Americans & increased federal funding for vaccine efforts after NH received less federal support than originally estimated.**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation that was previously cleared by the Senate last week. It will now be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Granite Staters and Americans have endured this crisis for a year now. More than half a million of our family members, friends and neighbors have been taken from us. Some of our most beloved small businesses have collapsed. Our hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open. And our states, counties, cities and towns are searching for every last dollar to address urgent local needs. The COVID-19 relief package cleared by Congress is the most comprehensive federal assistance legislation to date to help working families survive these challenging times, and we cannot get these resources out the door fast enough,” said Shaheen. “I worked with Senators and the Biden administration to ensure New Hampshire voices were heard loud and clear – child care providers, mayors, restaurant owners, doctors, teachers, crisis center advocates and working moms and dads who desperately need a hand. This relief will go a long way to help those most impacted navigate the difficult days ahead and to get our economy moving again. I look forward to seeing President Biden sign this into law quickly.”
The COVID-19 relief legislation, also known as the American Rescue Plan, contains key priorities secured or supported by Shaheen, including:
- Support for state and local governments and improved flexibility for uses of funding: Senator Shaheen helped lead negotiations in the Senate and with the Biden administration on measures related to assistance for state and local government funding. She also worked to ensure flexibility in this funding so states and municipalities can be effective and efficient with how dollars are spent to best respond to needs on the ground.
- Premium tax credit enhancement provisions from her standalone legislation, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act: Shaheen’s measures will expand coverage to millions Americans who are currently uninsured and reduce health care costs for millions of additional individuals who already have coverage, which is especially critical given the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Increased federal dollars for the Provider Relief Fund: During negotiations with the Senate and White House, Shaheen helped steer efforts to increase funding for the Provider Relief Fund to ensure hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers on the frontlines have the support they need to keep their doors open and continue to care for Granite Staters and Americans across the country.
- Funding to support vaccination efforts in smaller states like New Hampshire: After a flawed formula led New Hampshire to receive less federal funding than originally estimated, Shaheen led a push in Congress to address this discrepancy. In the COVID relief cleared by Congress, Shaheen worked to increase funding for vaccination efforts in smaller states, eliminating the shortfall the previous formula had created.
- Federal investments to help child care providers and combat homelessness: Senator Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for increased federal aid to help child care providers and organizations assisting our vulnerable communities, including the homeless. The funding bill cleared by Congress today includes significant resource to address those urgent needs.
- Resources to support veterans impacted by the crisis: Senator Shaheen supported provisions in the legislation that provide resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and care they deserve. This funding includes $750 million for state veterans’ homes to keep residents safe during the pandemic.
- Direct payment assistance to help working families: Senator Shaheen supported efforts to provide working families with direct payment assistance of $1,400 per taxpayer and eligible dependent for taxpayers filing separately who make up to $75,000, and married taxpayers filing jointly making up to $150,000.
Senator Shaheen is a member of the bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers that has steered negotiations of COVID-19 relief. The recent COVID-19 relief bill signed into law in December contained Shaheen-negotiated legislation that provided urgently needed assistance to American students, families, businesses, workers and health care providers impacted by the public health and economic crises. Senator Shaheen had a similar leadership role as a negotiator for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law last March and secured New Hampshire an initial $1.25 billion to assist with COVID-19 response efforts. Shaheen helped lead discussions on provisions in the CARES to assist small businesses and established the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Both of these programs have been lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country.