(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s joint address to Congress:
“President Biden’s address tonight was a reflection of what we’ve collectively been through as a nation, but more importantly, where we must go. For more than a year, our nation has grappled with the worst health and economic crisis of our lifetime. We mourn the more than 574,000 lives taken, support the grief-stricken families and stand united as Americans to get to the other side of this pandemic. The last year tested us in ways we never could have imagined, from businesses that reshaped operations to manufacture hand sanitizer or PPE, to parents who helped teach their children from home and health care providers who bore an unimaginable burden on the frontlines of this vicious virus. Tonight, I invited Maureen O’Dea as my virtual guest to shine a light on the impact of COVID-19 on teen mental health and the urgent need for our recovery efforts to prioritize mental health services for those who are struggling. No person or profession was spared by the pandemic,” said Shaheen.
Shaheen continued, “But through it all, the American spirit prevailed and we have endured. I’m proud to have been part of the bipartisan group that broke the brinkmanship in Congress and delivered emergency federal relief to the American people. In the months since, Congress cleared the American Rescue Plan, which is the most comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation to date. President Biden’s vision this evening built on the work accomplished in his first 100 days in office, including a new proposal that invests in the working family by addressing child care affordability, access to quality health care, early childhood education and much more. Responding to the COVID-19 crisis has been critical, but we must also start to look toward our recovery. As we continue vaccine distribution and COVID-19 mitigation efforts, I look forward to working in Congress and with the administration to address the full scope of needs in our communities, from bringing high-speed internet to every household to ensuring access to mental health services for Granite Staters as we recover together. The President’s speech tonight was not for one party, but for one country, and I hope lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will step up to help deliver these priorities for the American people.”
Senator Shaheen recognized Maureen O’Dea as her “virtual guest” for President Biden’s address this evening to underscore the need to address the teen mental health crisis in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. O’Dea is President of the New Hampshire School Counselors Association and Director of School Counseling at Londonderry High School. She recently participated in a roundtable hosted by Shaheen to discuss the youth and teen mental health crisis facing families in New Hampshire and across the country. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, O’Dea will not join Senator Shaheen in person for the President’s address.