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Senators Shaheen, Hassan Press Administration for Plan to Support Workers, Students Impacted by Coronavirus

(Washington, DC)– U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are calling for an economic package that focuses on working Americans and their families most impacted by the coronavirus and are calling on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to issue guidance to schools as they prepare to make difficult decisions about closures. 

In a letter to President Trump, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Shaheen, Hassan and their colleagues wrote, “The goal of any economic stimulus should be directly aimed at the two types of workers who will be most harmed. First, any proposed relief should directly target workers who may have followed medical guidance to self-quarantine because of potential exposure, or those who are required to care for a family member. Second, it should also ensure that workers whose employment or income is significantly jeopardized by industries who may experience the economic slowdown as a consequence of the spread of the virus are appropriately protected.” Read the full letter here.

In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Shaheen, Hassan and their colleagues wrote, “Increasing numbers of K-12 schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs) are considering school closures in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. We urge the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) to consider several serious issues related to school closure as it works with school districts, state education agencies, educators, and institutions of higher education, as well as with the President’s Task Force and public health officials.” The senators specifically raised the importance of the Department of Education taking action to support students who may be impacted by school closings, including what can be done to ensure that K-12 students can access school lunch programs and how to support students who rely on their colleges for on-campus food and housing services. Read the full letter here. 

Additionally, the senators sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia pushing the department to advocate for workers affected by the outbreak and questioning why the department is not represented on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. Read full letter here.

The letters sent by Senators Shaheen, Hassan and their colleagues follow up on their ongoing efforts to sound the alarm on the need for a comprehensive federal response to address the public health risk of coronavirus as well as the ripple effects on the economy. The Senators recently voted to support bipartisan, bicameral coronavirus response legislation that provides an initial $4.9 million to help New Hampshire respond to the virus. Shaheen and Hassan also joined with the rest of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation, Governor Sununu, and state health officials for a briefing on New Hampshire’s coronavirus response.