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Shaheen Introducing Legislation to Provide Child Care and Elder Care to Health Care Workers to Help Respond to Coronavirus Surge

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is introducing legislation with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Jack Reed (D-RI) to assist health care workers with child and elder care so that they can continue to treat patients during the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. The Helping Health Care Workers Afford Child and Elder Care Act provides payments to eligible health care workers in need of child care or elder care support and will help them work additional hours to treat an anticipated surge in patients as a result of the coronavirus.

“Congress needs to work together and do everything possible to support health care workers treating patients on the front-lines of this pandemic,” said Shaheen. “This legislation will provide support for child care and elder care for health care workers, giving these trained professionals the flexibility to work extra shifts as they prepare for a surge in patients in the days and weeks ahead. We need to do all that we can to look out for the wellbeing of the doctors, nurses and medical professionals working tirelessly to respond to this crisis. I’ll be urging Republican leadership to include this legislation in the coronavirus response bill currently being negotiated in Congress.”

School closures and closures of senior centers have complicated shift work for health care workers who now need to find child care or elder care support during their regularly-scheduled shifts. With the need for extra shift work likely to intensify in the coming weeks and months as health care providers prepare for a surge of patients, and given that the length of school and senior center closures remains uncertain, Congress needs to provide support for health care workers to afford child and elder care. The Helping Health Care Workers Afford Child and Elder Care Act ensures that frontline health care workers can continue to serve patients in need as efforts continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation provides $5 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide payments to support eligible health care workers who have a certified need for child care and elder care support, and are employed by eligible health care providers.

On Wednesday, Shaheen voted in favor of robust economic coronavirus response legislation to provide financial support to workers, businesses and families impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. The President signed the bill into law Wednesday night.

Senator Shaheen has been sounding the alarm on the need for additional federal funding to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Following calls from Shaheen and others in Congress, on Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the spread of coronavirus. Shaheen supported bipartisan government funding legislation to help states’ response efforts, which was recently signed into law. The CDC disbursed an initial $4.9 million in funds for New Hampshire included in that funding package. This week, Shaheen led the New Hampshire delegation in calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to urgently provide guidance to health care providers in New Hampshire and across the country on the steps being taken to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other essential supplies to hospitals as they prepare for an increase of coronavirus patients in the weeks to come. Earlier this week, Shaheen shared a video message with Granite Staters in response to the spread of the coronavirus, which can be viewed in full here

The full text of the legislation is available here.