April 21, 2020 In the News

NH senators praise passing of $484 billion aid bill

New Hampshire Union Leader
Staff report
April 21, 2020

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation praised the passing of the $484 billion Senate bill providing more funds for small businesses, hospitals and COVID-19 testing.

“Importantly, this agreement recognizes small businesses need help and if we’re going to reopen our economy, we need more testing,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement “As hospitals in New Hampshire furlough workers, delivering resources to health care providers is absolutely vital to public health and safety.”

Shaheen and Sen. Maggie Hassan said they were disappointed the bill that passed Tuesday contained no aid to states or local government.

“I will keep pushing to hold the president and Senate Republicans to their word that this will be addressed in the next legislative package,” Hassan said.

Shaheen’s office said the senator called for changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to earmark $60 billion of the business loan funds to run through smaller banks and credit unions.

One of two Republicans running against Shaheen, Corky Messner, criticized Shaheen on Twitter.

“While I welcome this bipartisan agreement, the delay didn’t need to happen while Granite Staters suffered,” Messner wrote.

Shaheen’s office said the “delay” came as Shaheen and other Democratic senators negotiated for those small banks and credit unions, as well as for more funds for another business loan program.

Shaheen’s office said Democratic senators were also pushing for $75 billion to give to hospitals and other health care providers, and $25 billion for more testing.

Hassan said funding for expanded testing would pave a path to re-opening businesses.

Rep. Chris Pappas said he supported the bill, which the House is expected to vote on Thursday.

He said he understood businesses could not wait any longer for loans, but called the Senate bill a “stopgap.”

“While this relief is critical, more must be done to further bolster our economy and support Granite Staters so we can get through this crisis and get America back on its feet and back to work,” Pappas said.