VIDEO RELEASE: Citing Her Conversations With Granite Staters, Shaheen Calls for Further COVID-19 Relief Legislation

June 22, 2020

 6.22 floor remarks

Shaheen urges the Senate to quickly pass a new, comprehensive COVID-19 relief package.   

(Washington, DC) – Today on the floor of the Senate, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) highlighted the continued economic and public health challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaheen urged Senators to work together and quickly pass a new package of legislation that delivers comprehensive and urgently needed relief to the American people. She called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to prioritize economic relief for communities, health care providers, families and small businesses. Shaheen’s remarks follow multiple conversations she has had with leaders across New Hampshire who are responding to the crisis, including small businesses, mayors and town managers, first responders and teachers. She criticized Republican leadership’s refusal to act on House-passed legislation that would continue to help Americans in need of assistance.

Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed in full here.

Shaheen underscored the tremendous challenges community leaders, frontline workers and small businesses have shared in their conversations with her over the course of the crisis. “They’ve raised concerns about the massive reduction in local tax revenue and the very difficult decisions that will soon need to be made if federal assistance doesn’t arrive soon. I’ve heard from teachers and school administrators about the challenges they’ve encountered trying to educate their students during the pandemic… And so many small businesses – while they are very grateful for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and loans and grants that have been made available through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program – they are telling me that it’s not enough.”

Shaheen slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s lack of urgency in delivering relief during this crisis. “It’s been more than a month since the House of Representatives sent to us the HEROES Act, to continue to provide assistance to Americans who are in need. And in the time since, we have not taken up any proposal that would provide comprehensive relief for the sectors of our economy that are still hurting.”

Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Small Business Committee who had helped negotiate the small business relief programs that were established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, discussed the success programs like PPP have had in helping to keep small businesses afloat, but again stressed that more is needed.  “Last week, I was pleased to work with Senators Cardin and Coons to introduce the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program, the P4 Act. That’s legislation that would provide a second round of PPP funding for smaller businesses, particularly for those in the restaurant and hospitality industries, which have been hit especially hard in recent months.”

Shaheen concluded, “It is going to take a while for us to get back on our feet as a nation, and the devastating health and economic effects from COVID-19 will not be alleviated just because we pretend the coronavirus is going away. It won’t be alleviated unless Congress acts… We can’t take a wait-and-see approach. We know that people are hurting right now, so I urge the Senate to take up and pass legislation… Let’s take up that relief bill and continue to provide the help that Americans are calling for. We have no more time to waste.”