Senator Shaheen Responds to People Using the COVID-19 Pandemic for Political Gain, “These Are the Kinds of Times That Require Real Leadership, That Requires a Response to the Crisis That We Are in, and They Should Not Be about Posturing for an Election. It Should Be About How Do We Provide the Help to the American People That They Need.”
In an Interview with WKXL’s Chris Ryan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen discusses the latest proposed $1 trillion Coronavirus related stimulus package which is being reviewed by the Senate; expresses concerns about reopening schools; evaluates the use or misuse of federal officers in Portland, Oregon.
Senator Shaheen has several problems with the Republican Senate stimulus package: 1) there is no money put aside to help nursing homes; 2) no help is given for state and local governments who will be experiencing a shortfall due to the economic shutdown which might result in lay offs; 3) money is provided for schools which are reopening but not to provide safe environments for students; 4) protections are provided for corporations but not for workers. However, the Senator is optimistic that an agreement will be reached and that this is a starting point for negotiations.
To reopen schools safely for students, teachers, and staff, the Senator believes that assistance should be provided to those schools which want to reopen. After a recent visit to the Rochester school district, Senator Shaheen came away with some interesting observations about how to reopen schools during the pandemic. School officials report that a survey indicates that 70% of parents and 70% of teachers are willing to return to school. Options for remote learning will be provided for the 30% of students who are not ready to come back to the classrooms. A safe return to school will require the following: PPE-personal protective equipment, such as, 5 masks per week for a 1000 workers or 5000 masks per week; gowns for teachers who work closely with students; HVAC equipment to regularly change filters; more cleaning supplies than usually required. These kinds of supplies are not part of a usual school budget, so federal assistance will be needed.
Senator Shaheen supports legislation which is being proposed by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon to limit the use of federal officers without being requested by local governments, the use of federal officials would be confined to the federal properties which they are protecting, and federal officers must wear uniforms and use vehicles which clearly identify who they are. The Senator is concerned about using federal officers who are untrained in crowd control.
In the conclusion of the article, Senator Shaheen outlined a bill which she has cosponsored with Representative Pappas from New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. The bill would allow state veteran cemeteries to inter National Guard and Reserve members who have not been called for federal active duty.