Sen. Shaheen on COVID Relief Bill: Issue is Not Money Amount, But Are We ‘Responding to Needs of American People?'

By Andrew Davenport | July 31, 2020 | 10:43am EDT
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

(CNS News) – When asked how many trillion dollars should be spent on the latest coronavirus relief bill – the Republicans want $1 trillion, the Democrats want $3.4 trillion – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said, “I don’t think the issue is the amount of money, I think the issue is are we responding to the needs of the American people.” 

At the U.S. Capitol on July 28, CNS News asked Senator Shaheen, “Nancy Pelosi has said that the $1 trillion HEALS Act proposed by Senate Republicans for COVID relief isn’t enough and instead wants the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act. So how many trillion do you think Congress should spend on additional COVID relief?”

The senator responded, “I don’t think the issue is the amount of money, I think the issue is are we responding to the needs of the American people.” 

She continued, “Are we providing help for schools so that they can open? Are we providing help for those people who are going to lose their unemployment? Are we providing help for people who are now in danger of being evicted because the moratorium on evictions has run out? Are we going to help state and local governments who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic?”

“And most important,” she added, “are we going to provide additional money for testing and contact tracing so we can get this pandemic under control? That’s what we need to be thinking about.”  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)  (Getty Images)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (Getty Images)

In May, under House Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives passed the $3.4 Trillion HEROES Act.  The bill has not passed in the Senate.

On Monday, July 27, Senate Republicans unveiled their COVID-19 relief package of roughly $1 trillion, called the HEALS Act. Unlike the bill passed in the House, the Senate GOP bill cuts enhanced unemployment benefits from the current $600 to $200 per week.

The HEALS Act still includes liability protections, a second round of direct payments to Americans, and a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for hard-hit small businesses.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), last year’s budget deficit totaled $984 billion. In April, the CRFB projected that the deficit would be nearly four times as large this year, exceeding $3.8 trillion. As a share of the economy, the deficit was projected to total 18.7 percent of GDP in 2020.

As of June 9, the United States gross federal deficit had surpassed $26 trillion

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)  (Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Getty Images)

Transcript 

CNS News: Nancy Pelosi has said that the $1 trillion HEALS Act proposed by Senate Republicans for COVID relief isn’t enough and instead wants the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act. So how many trillion do you think Congress should spend on additional COVID relief?   

Sen. Shaheen: I don’t think the issue is the amount of money, I think the issue is are we responding to the needs of the American people. Are we providing help for schools so that they can open? Are we providing help for those people who are going to lose their unemployment? Are we providing help for people who are now in danger of being evicted because the moratorium on evictions has run out? Are we going to help state and local governments who have been on the front lines of this pandemic? And, most important, are we going to provide additional money for testing and contact tracing so we can get this pandemic under control? That’s what we need to be thinking about.  

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