Shaheen Statement on Coronavirus Economic Response Legislation as Bill Clears Congress, Sent to President’s Desk

March 27, 2020

SHAHEEN: “I urge the Trump administration to quickly distribute this emergency relief, particularly to working families and small businesses who need these resources as soon as possible to stay financially afloat. 

**Bill Includes a Minimum of $1.25 billion to New Hampshire to assist the state’s COVID-19 response efforts**

**As Part of This Bill, Shaheen, Rubio, Cardin & Collins Led Negotiations on Bipartisan Relief for Small Businesses, providing more than $377 Billion in Assistance**

**In Negotiations, Shaheen Drew From her Extensive Conversations with New Hampshire Small Businesses and Community Leaders Impacted by this Public Health Crisis**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved bipartisan coronavirus response legislation to provide urgent relief to workers, small businesses, health care providers, hospitals and families impacted by this public health crisis. Shaheen voted in favor of the legislation on Wednesday night, which was approved unanimously, 96-0. This legislation was the result of around the clock bipartisan negotiations, of which Shaheen helped negotiate provisions to assist small businesses alongside Senators Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD) and Collins (R-ME).

“Throughout this crisis, delivering desperately needed assistance to the Granite State has been my top priority and I’m very pleased that this bill has passed Congress and will soon be signed into law. I urge the Trump administration to quickly distribute this emergency relief, particularly to working families and small businesses who need these resources as soon as possible to stay financially afloat. The direct payments in this bill will help New Hampshire’s working families, particularly hourly and low-income workers, pay their bills, buy groceries, prescriptions and other necessities. In addition, New Hampshire will get at least $1.25 billion to bolster response efforts across the state. I worked very closely with senators from both sides of the aisle to negotiate legislation that helps small businesses get through this crisis and continue to meet payroll for their workers. I also fought for additional assistance for our hospitals that will soon see a terrifying surge in patients in the days and weeks ahead. The importance of keeping New Hampshire’s hospitals operational with the resources they need to treat a rush of new patients can’t be overstated. At my insistence, this bill provides financial support for child care costs for health care workers and other essential workers so that they can continue their vital work on the front lines.”

Shaheen continued, “It was also important that this legislation have protections in place to prevent large corporations from misusing funding. This bill is by no means perfect and there are certainly additional measures I wish we could have included, but the fact is this bill provides urgently needed help to families, small businesses, hospitals and states who need this assistance quickly. Our work in Congress certainly doesn’t end here -- Republicans and Democrats must continue to work across the aisle to overcome this crisis. This is one of those times in history when all Americans need to unite and do what's best for our communities and our country. We are all in this together.”

Below are topline priorities included in the bipartisan economic response package that were secured and supported by Shaheen:

  • Direct payments to many Americans of as much as $1,200 per person and $500 per child;
    • Those who make under $75,000 a year will get a check or deposit for the full $1,200 as well as what they’re entitled to for their children, as long as a tax return was submitted in 2018 or 2019 or received Social Security benefits.
    • Individuals making between $75,000 and $99,000 will receive a reduced amount based on a sliding scale. Checks or deposits are limited to individuals making under $99,000. 
      • One exception to this: those file as a head of household and make below $112,500 will receive the full $1,200 payment.
    • For joint filers making below $150,000, they will get a check or a deposit for $2,400 and there’s a similar sliding scale for incomes up to $198,000.
  • More than $377 billion for small businesses, which Shaheen helped negotiate, to meet their payroll and expenses, and receive education and assistance throughout the coronavirus pandemic; 
  • 4 months of increased unemployment assistance;   
  • More than $100 billion in much needed assistance for hospitals and frontline health care providers, and billions more in funding for the broader health care system;
  • Provides funding to health care and other essential workers for child care costs so that they can continue their important work on the front lines;
  • $150 billion to help state and local governments cover new expenses related to coronavirus response;
  • Significant restrictions and oversight to help ensure that larger corporations protect workers and don’t misuse funding through stock buybacks and executive pay increases; and
  • $10 billion in grants to help our nation’s airports as the aviation sector grapples with the most steep and potentially sustained decline in air travel in history.

By standing firm during negotiations and demanding a better bill, Senator Shaheen helped secure the following in recent days which was not in the original bill proposed by Leader McConnell:

  • 4 months of expanded unemployment insurance instead of 3 months, to include gig economy workers and independent contractors;
  • $150 billion for a state and local Coronavirus Relief fund of which at least $1.25 billion will go to New Hampshire to assist in COVID-19 response efforts;
  • Increased funding to hospitals and other health care providers from $75 billion to $100 billion;
  • More than $30 billion in additional funding to support the broader health care system;
  • $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs;
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans;
  • $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in emergency transit funding;
  • $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services; 
  • Allowing for rent, mortgage and utility costs to be eligible for SBA loan forgiveness;
  • $900 million for low income heating assistance through LIHEAP;
  • $300 million in assistance for impacted fishermen and processors;
  • Bans stock buybacks during government assistance plus an additional one year for any company receiving a government loan from the bill;
  • A retention tax credit for employers to encourage businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis;
  • Income tax exclusion for individuals who are receiving student loan repayment assistance from their employer;
  • Eliminated a $3 billion bailout for big oil;
  • Eliminated a “secret bailout” provision that would have allowed bailouts to corporations to be concealed for 6 months; and
  • Saved hundreds of thousands of airline industry jobs and prohibited airlines from stock buybacks and CEO bonuses.

Senator Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor about her efforts to improve this legislation for New Hampshire.

In addition to this legislation, Shaheen has fought for and voted in favor of two economic response bills to provide financial relief to states in their response efforts, and to support workers, businesses and families impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. The President signed both bills into law. The first economic package led to New Hampshire receiving an initial $4.9 million in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).