During Visit to Lakes Region Boys & Girls Club, Shaheen Highlights Need for Childcare Support for Working Families in Upcoming COVID-19 Relief Legislation

July 14, 2020

7.14.20 Laconia visit 1

7.14.20 Laconia visit 2

Shaheen speaks to the staff of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region on the need to include childcare support in upcoming COIVD-19 response legislation. Laconia Mayor Andrew Hosmer (left of Shaheen) also joined her during the visit. 

**Later: Shaheen Tours National Guard COVID-19 Testing Site, Thanks Staff for Service on COVID-19’s Frontlines** 

7.14.20 National Guard visit 1

7.14.20 National Guard visit 2

Shaheen thanks NH National Guardsmen and members of the NH Metropolitan Medical Response System Task Force for their vital work on the frontlines of the pandemic.

(Manchester, NH) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region’s Lakes Early Learning Center in Laconia to underscore the need for childcare support in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation. As New Hampshire’s economy reopens, Granite State working families need child care in order to fully return to work, but providers in the state and across the country have been severely impacted by the fallout of the public health and financial crisis and many are at risk of permanent closure. During her visit, Shaheen was joined by Laconia Mayor Andrew Hosmer and highlighted the challenges child care providers are facing amid the pandemic and shared a legislative update from the Senate on her efforts to include child care support in the next round of COVID-19 response legislation. Last month, Shaheen introduced the Child Care is Essential Act, which would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to stabilize the child care sector and support providers in their efforts to safely reopen and operate.  Through the CARES Act, New Hampshire received almost $7 million for child care. At Shaheen’s insistence, the CARES Act included flexibilities to allow these dollars to be used to support child care for health care workers and other essential workers. New Hampshire has used the federal funding to help establish a child care system to support essential workers, so that they can continue their work on the frontlines of the crisis.

“Providing safe and affordable child care to working Granite State families is an imperative if we are to fully re-open our economy. As was made clear during our conversation today, child care providers have been hard hit by this pandemic and need help to keep their doors open to safely care for children as this crisis continues,” said Shaheen. “Child care is fundamental to our response to this pandemic and impacts every part of our economy and society. I’ve been fighting for funding for childcare in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation -- Congress must make this a priority.”

Later, Shaheen visited the New Hampshire National Guard’s COVID-19 Testing Site in Concord. Over the course of COVID-19, Granite State National Guardsmen and the New Hampshire Metropolitan Medical Response System Task Force have played an important role in support of the state’s response efforts, including in providing rapid testing throughout the state. During her visit, Shaheen toured the testing facility and thanked staff for their service on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Senator Shaheen has been adamant about the need for increased testing capabilities. She called on Vice President Pence and FEMA to conduct a national inventory of COVID-19 testing supplies, publicly release data on testing results and provide a detailed plan and timeline for addressing future shortages and gaps in the testing supply chain. Shaheen also called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prioritize COVID-19 testing kits for New Hampshire in reaction to the agency’s inadequate response to the state’s needs, which included sending 15 testing machines but only 120 testing kits for the entire state. Shaheen has also urged the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop a COVID-19 testing strategy at VA facilities nationwide and establish a framework for a large-scale strategy for national testing. In May, Shaheen, together with the NH congressional delegation, announced $61 million for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing and has called for a further $8 billion in funding for national contact tracing initiatives. Shaheen and the New Hampshire congressional delegation have also repeatedly pressed federal officials to provide vital medical supplies to New Hampshire, including nasal swabs and reagents for COVID-19 testing.

“I’m so grateful for the work and service of the men and women of the New Hampshire National Guard and the New Hampshire Metropolitan Medical Response System Task Force, who have answered the call to serve on the frontlines of our response to COVID-19. Thanks to their efforts, thousands of Granite Staters have been able to get the COVID-19 testing they need, saving lives and helping to prevent the spread of this disease,” said Shaheen. “Widespread testing is absolutely critical to keeping COVID-19 at bay, which is why I’ll continue to push for additional funding to help New Hampshire continue to ramp up its testing capacity, protect public health and get our economy moving in the right direction.”