WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan called for immediate action to support local communities and states in a Senate floor speech this evening. Specifically, the Senator called on Senate Republicans to join Democratic efforts to provide significant and flexible economic relief for state and local governments across the country to help them save lives and preserve jobs.
To watch the Senator’s floor speech click here.
“In the face of these unprecedented circumstances, states and local communities are facing new, mounting costs and a catastrophic loss of revenue,” Senator Hassan said. “Without additional federal resources, we will see even more job losses and further economic harm.”
During the speech, Senator Hassan referenced a report from Moody’s Analytics that showed that without significant federal support, state and local governments may be forced to lay off upwards of four million people.
“Throughout this crisis, we’ve worked together to try to save American jobs – why then would we now sit and do nothing for the people who make our communities run?” Senator Hassan said.
Senator Hassan continued, “In addition to job cuts, without additional support state and local governments may also need to cut programs and services that the American people depend on. Forcing states to slash education, infrastructure, and public health budgets, among others, would be deeply harmful at any time. But in the middle of a pandemic and the recession it has helped create, the ripple effect of those cuts would be even more staggering…I urge my Republican colleagues to work with us to deliver this necessary relief – and ensure that states have the flexibility to use this funding to backfill lost revenue and preserve jobs.”
The Senator concluded, “State and local governments need our strong support to help save lives and strengthen our economy – and they need it right now. Blocking this relief will only make a dire economic situation even worse. That is the last thing the American people need.”
Senator Hassan has been pushing for additional funding to state and local government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Senator Hassan led a bipartisan group of Senators – who were also former governors – in calling on Vice President Mike Pence to work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue guidance to states on how they can use funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address budget shortfalls. Senator Hassan also recently cosponsored legislation that would make clear that the federal relief funds provided to local governments in the CARES Act can be used to replace revenue shortfalls resulting from the pandemic. Additionally, during a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing earlier this month, the Senator raised the importance of Congress passing additional federal funding to support state and local governments, which have seen their budgets strained due to COVID-19-related revenue losses, in order to meet the needs of students as schools prepare to reopen in the fall.