Shaheen Leads Bipartisan Call Urging Trump Administration to Work With Congress to Deliver Relief to U.S. Airports

March 21, 2020

“As your administration considers proposals to help our nation’s airlines respond to this public health crisis, we urge you to ensure sufficient funding is also available to meet the needs of our nation’s airports.”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led a bipartisan group of 39 Senators calling on the Trump administration to work with Congress to deliver much-needed assistance to airports across the country grappling with the urgent public health challenges posed by the coronavirus. 

In a letter to President Trump, the Senators wrote, “Airports play a key role in our local and regional economies and ensure our constituents have access to the national aviation system. However, the current COVID-19 outbreak is having a significant impact on airports of all sizes. The sudden drop in passenger levels has led to a rapid decline in airport revenues. According to industry association estimates, U.S. airports stand to lose nearly $14 billion in operating revenue this year, based on preliminary data about flight cancellations to date. To make matters worse, airports are facing new operating demands, strains on their ability to meet their debt obligations and increasing pressures to reduce costs.” 

The Senators highlighted the need to provide robust federal assistance and increased flexibility for airports to allocate resources for cleaning equipment, operating expenses and debt service, among other purposes. They also requested that the Trump administration support efforts to ensure carriers continue to provide service to small and rural communities, which are often the first to suffer when airlines are forced to make difficult financial decisions. 

The Senator’s closed by stating, “We appreciate your attention to this important request. We stand ready to work with you and your administration to help our nation’s airports – and all Americans and small businesses – cope with the growing demands of this global pandemic.” 

“I would like to thank Senator Shaheen for her tireless support of the aviation system during this time of great uncertainty,” said Ted Kitchens, A.A.E. Airport Director of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. “Regardless of size or location, airports are critical to the economic development of our communities and the nation. Providing assistance during a time where airport revenues are dropping precipitously is critical to ensuring that the aviation system is ready to assist the nation during the economic recovery and to keep America moving.” 

Senator Shaheen was joined by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), James Risch (R-ID), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Edward Markey (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Doug Jones (D-AL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Jack Reed (D-RI).

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, 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. She is also introducing legislation to assist health care workers with child and elder care so that they can continue to treat patients in the midst of school and senior center closures. 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 letter is available here.