New Hampshire Union Leader
By Paul Feely
March 4, 2020
New Hampshire is in line to receive an initial $4.9 million out of $8.3 billion in nationwide federal funding to support coronavirus outbreak response efforts under a bipartisan deal announced Wednesday.
Staff for Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-NH, say the bill, expected to be fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate and House and signed by President Donald Trump, contains a key provision sought by all four members of the state’s Congressional delegation to reimburse New Hampshire and the other 49 states, as well as local governments, for costs associated with efforts to address the outbreak.
“I’ve called on Congress to craft legislation that begins to meet the threat of this virus and quickly deliver it to the President’s desk for signature. I’m pleased that this legislation announced today is the product of a good-faith, bipartisan effort to respond to the coronavirus which will help states like New Hampshire contain and mitigate its spread,” said Shaheen in a statement. “As I, alongside New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation have urged, this legislation will also help reimburse states for the work that’s already been done to respond to this virus.”
“As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, we must ensure a coordinated, well-resourced response across all levels of government to protect public health and safety,” said Hassan in a statement. “Alongside New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, I’ve called for a strong, bipartisan package, and I’m pleased that this agreement gives the federal government, state governments, and health care professionals more resources to detect and respond to this outbreak.”
“I’m very hopeful that this legislation can pass Congress in the same spirit of bipartisan cooperation in which it was written,” added Shaheen in a statement. “At every level of government we need to be working across the aisle in the best interests of public health. I’ll continue to do everything in my power to help New Hampshire prepare and respond to this emergency.”
Gov. Chris Sununu urged Congress to quickly pass the funding bill.
“Public Health is working around the clock to ensure New Hampshire remains on top of this developing situation,” said Sununu in a statement. “These initial funds will help cover costs associated with monitoring this public health situation and I urge Congress to send this appropriation to the President immediately so that New Hampshire has all resources available to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, both D-NH, voted Wednesday in the House to approve the funding package. The bill passed the House, 415-2, and a vote in the Senate is expected as soon as Thursday.
“From my conversations with New Hampshire state officials, health care providers, and college and school administrators, it is clear that additional resources are necessary to support their ongoing efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus,” said Kuster in a statement. “I’ve shared the concerns of people in New Hampshire directly with House Leadership and underscored the importance of swiftly distributing this funding.”
“As members of Congress our foremost responsibility is to keep our communities healthy and safe, which is why I voted in favor of a strong bipartisan supplemental funding package that will equip our state and local public health officials with the resources they need to contain this virus,” said Pappas in a statement. “This package will help protect Granite Staters by providing $8.3 billion in federal funds to address the coronavirus outbreak. It will also ensure that our state is reimbursed for its ongoing containment and mitigation efforts.”
The $8.3 billion supplemental package includes:
$3 billion for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics
$2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, which includes a provision to reimburse state and local response efforts
$1.25 billion to secure Americans’ health by addressing the coronavirus overseas
$1 billion for medical supplies and health care preparedness, including funding for health centers
$300 million to ensure access to affordable vaccines
More than 100 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States and 11 people have died as health officials warn more cases will likely be reported. The CDC says the coronavirus has been concentrated in certain communities, such as Washington state, and isn’t widespread yet, but it has cautioned local and state officials to be ready if that changes.