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Kuster votes in favor of coronavirus response legislation to secure critical resources and support for New Hampshire

By AP | May 16, 2020

Washington, DC  – Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement after voting in favor of the HEROES Act. This legislation – the latest coronavirus response package which just passed the House of Representatives – includes a number of provisions proposed in Rep. Kuster’s Roadmap to Recovery.”

“Without question, lives have been saved thanks to the extraordinary steps we have taken in New Hampshire and across the country to slow the spread of COVID-19, but we have a long road ahead to fully reopen our economy,” said Rep. Kuster. “The legislation we passed today will provide critical support to Granite State families, workers, health providers, and state and local governments as we continue responding to this public health and economic crisis.”

“I am pleased that many of the measures outlined in my ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ were included in this legislation,” Kuster continued. “This pandemic requires a coordinated, comprehensive response. My Roadmap outlines measures that we can take to safely reopen our economy, including a national testing strategy, expanding access to health care and providing vaccines, and support for state and local governments with much-needed funds during this critical time. I will continue working to ensure that our response efforts address the needs and priorities of New Hampshire families, workers, small businesses, health care workers, essential employees, and all Granite Staters.”

On April 29, Rep. Kuster introduced her “Roadmap to Recovery”  to serve as an outline for next steps. Due to Kuster’s efforts, critical provisions she fought for – including many from her Roadmap to Recovery – were included in the HEROES Act:

  • Comprehensive Testing Strategy, Contact Tracing, Quarantine Support:  Provides more than $75 billion in funding to state and local governments to bolster testing, contact tracing, and isolation. Additionally, the HEROES Act encourages engagement with community-based organizations to support the recruitment, training, and placement of contact tracers while creating a centralized national testing strategy.
  • Access to Vaccines & Health Care Coverage for All Americans:  Expands funding for the vaccines and therapies to combat COVID-19 and eliminates cost-sharing for Medicaid beneficiaries. Under the HEROES Act, a special enrollment period would be established to ensure those seeking treatment for COVID-19 can get health insurance coverage.
  • Additional Economic Payments to Taxpayers:  Provides additional $1,200 payments to qualified taxpayers, similar to the Economic Impact Payments in the CARES Act.
  • Continued Support for Unemployment Insurance:  The HEROES Act provides expanded and augmented Unemployment Insurance to Americans in need and extends the $600 weekly supplemental benefit through January 31, 2021.
  • Critical Fiscal Relief to State and Local Governments:  Provides over $1.74 billion in funding to New Hampshire state and local governments to support critical services to combat COVID-19.

Rep. Kuster has been in close contact with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone and House leadership to advocate for policies important to New Hampshire and the nation as a whole. The HEROES Act is the fourth bill passed by the House to provide much-needed relief to Granite Staters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Congresswoman Kuster questioned Dr. Richard Bright, the former federal vaccine chief who filed a whistleblower complaint last week after being removed from his position as Director of the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA). In a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Rep. Kuster asked Dr. Bright about his role as director of BARDA; America’s preparedness for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including the availability of supplies for a future COVID-19 vaccine; and readiness for reopening the country.