Shaheen Statement on Senate-Approved COVID-19 Relief, Successfully Helps Secure Aid for State & Local Governments
**Shaheen also included portions of her legislation to lower costs and expand access to health care for more Americans & increased federal funding for vaccine efforts after NH received less federal support than originally estimated.**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the Senate cleared comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation. It will next be considered by the House of Representatives before it is sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law:
"Town managers and mayors have been sounding the alarm for months: our communities are running out of ways to stretch their budgets and without immediate assistance, municipal workers – including police, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers and others on the frontlines – will be on the chopping block. These are decisions our communities should not be forced to make under normal circumstances, let alone in the middle of a full-blown health and economic crisis. Delivering this assistance, particularly to local governments, was one of my top concerns and I'm glad we are now one step closer to getting this relief out the door,” said Shaheen. “Not only does this legislation include urgently needed assistance, it provides flexibility to our towns, cities, counties and state so they can be effective and efficient with how dollars are spent on critical investments, such as expanding broadband to support remote learning, work and telehealth services. I also worked to secure measures that address education needs, provide support for our hospitals and invest in vaccine distribution and COVID mitigation efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that has challenged our state and nation in ways we never imagined, which is why it is imperative that every effort is made to address the full scope of this crisis and help our communities get to the other side. The Senate took action today and now the House and President should swiftly follow suit.”
Senator Shaheen helped lead negotiations on measures related to funding for hospitals and assistance for state and local governments during negotiations with the Senate and calls with the White House. The COVID-19 relief legislation includes premium tax credit enhancement provisions from her legislation, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act. Senator Shaheen also worked to boost funding to support vaccination efforts by smaller states after a flawed formula led New Hampshire to receive less federal funding than originally estimated. Shaheen led a push in Congress to address this discrepancy last month. Senator Shaheen also supported provisions in the legislation that provide resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and care they deserve. This funding includes $750 million for state veterans’ homes to keep residents safe during the pandemic.
Senator Shaheen is a member of the bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers that has steered negotiations of COVID-19 relief. The recent COVID-19 relief bill signed into law in December contained Shaheen-negotiated legislation that provided urgently needed assistance to American students, families, businesses, workers and health care providers impacted by the public health and economic crises. Senator Shaheen had a similar leadership role as a negotiator for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law last March and secured New Hampshire an initial $1.25 billion to assist with COVID-19 response efforts. Shaheen helped lead discussions on provisions in the CARES to assist small businesses and established the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Both of these programs have been lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country.