Shaheen Leads Bipartisan Group of Northern Border Senators in Call to President to Address Impact of U.S-Canada Border Closure and Quarantines on Medical & Other Essential Supply Chains

March 20, 2020

Shaheen and Group of Senators Call for Immediate Guidance Before U.S.-Canada Border Closure

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a bipartisan group of Senators representing states along the United States-Canada border in a letter to President Trump calling on him to consider necessary exemptions to protect public health and safety for businesses and individuals affected by travel restrictions from closing the U.S.-Canadian border, as well as enforcement mandated by quarantines. The bipartisan letter highlights concerns regarding the border closure’s effect on the supply chains of companies that produce or provide essential goods and services. The northern border closure begins tomorrow, March 21st. The letter also urges the President to consider the impact on families living in border communities. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) also signed the letter.

The Senators wrote, “Many businesses in our states, including hospitals and medical equipment providers, depend upon travel across the northern border for essential supplies and personnel. In attempting to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, we must ensure that any new travel restrictions do not handicap these industries and their ability to respond to outbreaks quickly and effectively. Federal agencies and the Coronavirus Task Force will need to coordinate closely to ensure the necessary exemptions are made to travel restrictions. We ask that as you make decisions to restrict travel to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, you immediately communicate with the businesses and individuals regarding those restrictions.”

The letter continued by urging the President to evaluate the impact of travel restrictions on families and communities along the northern border, some of which share essential services critical to public safety. The Senators implored the President to provide guidance as to how closures and quarantines will affect these communities to ensure all necessary exemptions are made in the interest of public health and safety. The Senators closed their letter by reiterating that restrictions on travel across the border are necessary to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but that targeted exemptions must be considered and clear directives for those exemptions must be immediately provided so businesses and individuals are able to plan and prepare.

In addition to Shaheen, the letter is signed by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Susan Collins (D-ME), Jim Risch (R-ID), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Their letter can be read in full here.

As the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak continue to grow in New Hampshire and across the nation, Shaheen has worked to communicate with Granite Stater stakeholders affected by the public health emergency, such as small businesses owners and leaders of New Hampshire communities, including mayors and non-profit service organizations and charities who are assisting response efforts in communities throughout the state.

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 voted in favor of bipartisan economic coronavirus response legislation this week, and is helping to lead negotiations on support for small businesses in third economic relief package that Congress will soon consider. Shaheen also supported bipartisan government funding legislation to help states’ response efforts, which was recently signed into law. The CDC disbursed $4.9 million in initial funds for New Hampshire, which was included in that funding package. 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