Here in New Hampshire and across our country, people are hurting and worried because of the coronavirus. At risk are their health and the health of their families, their jobs, their ability to keep a roof overhead, food on the table, securing their retirement and more. Not since the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish influenza has a pandemic posed such an immense threat to the public health of our country.
Granite Staters need help and they need it fast. That’s the message I’m hearing from the mayors, public health officials, small business owners and social service agencies on the front lines of this crisis. And while this fight is far from over, bipartisan action from Congress will bring critical support to New Hampshire.
I proudly worked across the aisle as part of a bipartisan team in the U.S. Senate focused on small business relief. Alongside assistance for small businesses and workers in New Hampshire, the bill contains a number of provisions to deliver direct relief to Granite Staters, including:
• Emergency paid sick leave to workers infected with the coronavirus or undergoing quarantine. This leave is also available to those that need to take care of a family member impacted by the virus, or a child whose school or place of care is closed out of COVID-19 concerns.
• Four months of increased unemployment insurance for those laid off as a result of the pandemic.
• Economic assistance, with many Granite Staters getting direct payments worth as much as $1,200 per person and $500 per child.
• More for our health care providers for hospital beds, masks and ventilators, and more to expand testing and to help make childcare and elder care affordable for health care workers so they can continue to do their jobs.
• Economic assistance so our small businesses and nonprofits can cover expenses and continue to pay their employees, including a provision that allows for rent, mortgage and utility costs to be eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
• $1.25 billion in state support to help New Hampshire.
In addition, the bill also provides: Assistance to help our fishing industry weather this storm, critical support to airports and mass transit systems and increased funding for LIHEAP — a program that thousands of Granite Staters rely on to heat their homes.
My top priority has been and continues to be New Hampshire and the people of our great state. I’ve been adamant that we get this right so that we provide real relief to those who need it most. That means standing-up against corporate give-aways, but also reaching out and working across the aisle to get things done for working families and small businesses. That’s what it took to get this important action from Congress. It marks an important beginning. Republicans and Democrats must continue to work across the aisle to overcome this crisis.
Congress has approved funding and the President has signed it. Now comes the hard part, making sure money gets into the hands of people who need help. I urge the Trump administration to move quickly to release resources to New Hampshire for our health care workers, our families and our small businesses. I am ready and eager to help in any way that I can.
This is one of those moments when I’m reminded they don’t call us Granite Staters for nothing. We are tough in New Hampshire, and we come together to meet the challenges of tough times with persistence, smarts and compassion. This certainly is one of those times. For New Hampshire and our nation, it is a time to unite, to work together and do what’s best for our communities and our country.