May 13, 2020

Wyden, Merkley Press for Maritime Ports Help in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

Oregon senators: “Maritime ports provide the economic health and stability that coastal communities rely on”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are urging Senate leaders to direct relief in the next COVID-19 package to maritime ports in Oregon and nationwide.

The letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer notes that ports’ unique governing structures have left them ineligible for many of the recently enacted relief programs.

 “Funding sources vary for ports, but all have seen their budgets hit hard by the ongoing business closures and stay-at-home orders,” said the letter led by Wyden from 19 senators. “Yet port staff are not able to just lock up their facilities and go home. Their vital work must continue to move the goods the American people need and to maintain safety and security for these essential workers.

“Most important is that the next package disperses aid to ports of all sizes, both large and small alike,” they wrote. “Small ports are often the lifeblood of communities and are the hardest hit by these events. Maritime ports provide the economic health and stability that coastal communities rely on. We must not forget them when crafting these policies. Any effort enacted here must be able to flow down to the smallest port to help them weather this emergency.”

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Dianne Feinstein  (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Full text of the letter is here.

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