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Shaheen Highlights Assistance for State & Local Governments in New Senate-Approved COVID-19 Relief During Call with Rural Town Managers

(Manchester, NH) – This morning, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted a virtual meeting with rural town managers from throughout New Hampshire to discuss new assistance she fought to include for local governments in the Senate relief package that passed the chamber on Saturday. It is now pending approval before the House of Representatives.

Shaheen highlighted her work to secure assistance for state and local governments in the COVID-19 relief package and provide them greater flexibility for uses of funding to respond to the unique needs of their communities. The legislation includes $350 billion for state and local governments, as well as additional relief to help schools.

The virtual event can be viewed here.

“The concerns I heard from rural town managers today ran the gambit, including workforce shortages, issues with broadband internet access, a lack of resources to strengthen essential local infrastructure and so much more. Their stories echoed what I heard in our communities for months and reaffirmed why it was important to increase aid for state and local governments in the new COVID-19 relief bill to address these concerns, and just as critically, to ensure they have the flexibility to use funding most effectively and efficiently on the ground,” said Shaheen. “The federal government has an obligation to provide our communities the resources they need to withstand and recover from the devastating economic fallout of this pandemic and continue to provide essential services and support to local residents. The new COVID-19 relief package cleared by the Senate is the most robust funding assistance to date to combat the immense challenges created or exacerbated by the pandemic. The House should move expeditiously so we can get this relief out the door.”

Senator Shaheen helped lead negotiations on measures related to funding for hospitals and assistance for state and local governments during negotiations with the Senate and calls with the White House. The COVID-19 relief legislation includes premium tax credit enhancement provisions from her legislation, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act. Senator Shaheen also worked to boost funding to support vaccination efforts by smaller states 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 last month. Senator Shaheen also 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.  

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 Act 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.