New Hampshire Congressional delegation pleased with COVID-19 relief vote

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800px US Capitol Building at night Jan 2006
Congressional dome. Credit/Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON – The House and Senate approved a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package late on Monday night, with Manchester’s members of Congress playing a role in the bill’s journey.

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) were both part of a bicameral, bipartisan team to produce the initial framework of the final legislation.

Shaheen hopes President Donald Trump will sign the legislation into law immediately.

“I’m thinking of our families in New Hampshire who are struggling to put food on the table, our small businesses and farmers who are fighting to keep operations alive and our treatment centers stretched to the limit in reaction to how COVID has worsened the substance use disorder crisis,” she said. “I shared their stories at the negotiating table, as well as those from our child care centers struggling to stay financially afloat and our food banks that are overextended, and I believe it was their testimonials and calls for action that moved the needle.”

“Granite Staters and all Americans are facing unprecedented challenges amid the pandemic, and this bipartisan package will bolster our public health efforts and provide vital relief to help individuals, small businesses, and schools make it through the winter,” said Hassan. “I am glad that our bipartisan group’s work helped to reach this compromise agreement – we knew that our constituents could not wait any longer for additional support.”

Shaheen added that she’s heard a need from constituents to seek additional relief as soon as possible.

The relief bill, attached to a 36-part larger end-of-year spending bill, passed Senate, 92-6. The House later passed the bill with support from both sides of the aisle, 359-53.

Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH), voted in support of the bill and was frustrated the vote did not come sooner.

“No compromise is perfect, but this deal represents an important bridge to the new year where we will have to redouble our efforts to address the pandemic and help those who continue to struggle,” said Pappas. I will continue to push leaders in both parties to put politics aside and focus on the people we serve. This package reflects the kind of compromise I’ve advocated for and we must see more of this the months ahead.”

Pappas added that he is willing to work with any member of Congress to provide additional COVID-19 support for Granite Staters and that future relief packages must provide additional support for workers, families, small businesses and those on the front lines of treating those infected with the virus as well as support for local cities and towns to avoid cuts to police, fire departments and schools.

The bill provides $284 billion to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and allow many small businesses and nonprofits access to a second round of PPP loans. The legislation also expanding PPP eligibility for 501(c)(6) nonprofits such as tourism organizations and local chambers of commerce.

Additionally, the relief bill includes $20 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency grant program and $3.5 billion to extend the Debt Relief Program established under the CARES Act to cover the principal, interest and fees on all pre-existing and new Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed loans.


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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.