WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan took to the Senate floor today to underscore the importance of providing significant and flexible funding to support state and local governments’ efforts to save lives and protect the economy in the next COVID-19 relief package. In her speech, the Senator outlined how this additional funding will be crucial in order to preserve jobs and ensure that communities can continue to meet the public health and economic needs of their residents.
To watch the Senator’s speech, click here.
“[State and local governments] have been at this forefront of our nation’s response to COVID-19,” Senator Hassan said. “They provide people and businesses with vital support: scouring the world for personal protective equipment, setting up testing centers, and providing emergency relief for families and businesses. They also employ millions of essential public employees who are on the front lines of this crisis – including first responders, teachers, and many, many others.”
As a former Governor, Senator Hassan understands the challenges that state and local officials are facing: “In New Hampshire, following public health guidance, local and state officials took necessary steps to close down portions of the economy in order to save lives. They are now feeling the impacts of revenue shortfalls, directly related to those actions. All while keeping up their efforts to provide the front line services necessary to save lives and provide economic relief.”
The Senator went on to reference a recent roundtable discussion where she heard from New Hampshire mayors about the challenges that they are facing in their communities due to devastating revenue losses and mounting costs incurred as a result of the pandemic.
Senator Hassan stated, “Without additional funding from the federal government, states will be forced to slash education, to slash infrastructure, and to slash public health budgets – which would be devastating, especially in the midst of this pandemic. And it’s not just a loss in the services that people depend on. Millions of additional jobs would be lost as well.”
Senator Hassan also spoke about the need to include significant funding to support schools and urged her colleagues to include in the next relief package a proposal that she cosponsored that would provide $430 billion to support child care facilities, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions during the pandemic.
The Senator concluded, “All across our state, I know that if today's heavy rains cause floodings, our public workers will be out there around the clock protecting their communities. I know that our law enforcement, our fire fighters will continue to respond to calls whether or not they have enough personal protective equipment because that is what they do. They protect and they serve. They do it with dedication and they do it with commitment. And they provide essential services that keep our communities safe and healthy. It’s never been as important as it is now. All we are asking is that we come together across party lines with the White House and support our state and local governments in this time of need.”