Congressional Roundup: 688 Battalion honored, Hassan earns bipartisan kudos, Pappas aims to help veterans, Kuster aims to help AAPI community

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Kuster’s virtual roundtable

Kuster hosts virtual roundtable on AAPI Hate

Last week, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a virtual roundtable with members of the New Hampshire Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community and discussed the ongoing efforts in Congress and New Hampshire to end Asian hate. Rep. Kuster was joined by Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), whose legislation, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, Kuster cosponsored in the House.

This bill would require the Department of Justice to expedite the review process following potential hate crimes related to the pandemic, and issue guidance to law enforcement agencies on how to improve hate crime reporting. The legislation also calls for guidelines on how federal agencies can avoid racially discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.

Senate Passes Bipartisan Congressional Gold Medal Act to Honor Doris Moore of Portsmouth and Other Members of the Six Triple Eight Battalion

The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation last week, cosponsored by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the women of the Six Triple Eight Battalion, which was the only all-Black, all-female battalion serving overseas during World War II and included Portsmouth native Doris Moore. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion served during World War II both at home and in Europe where members sorted and routed mail for millions of American service members and civilians.

“The trailblazing women of the Six Triple Eight are American heroes who for too long have been denied the recognition that they deserve,” said Hassan. “Portsmouth’s Doris Moore is among the women who served in this groundbreaking battalion and helped sort and send mail to service members back home and in Europe. I am deeply honored to be a part of bipartisan efforts to award these women with Congress’ highest honor, and I urge the House to quickly pass this legislation so that the President can sign it into law.”

“I’m pleased to see the Senate pass this bill to recognize the incredible contributions of the only all-Black, all-female battalion during World War II – the Six Triple Eight Battalion. New Hampshire’s own Doris Moore was part of the battalion that valiantly served overseas, and a Congressional Gold Medal to honor their service is long overdue,” said Shaheen. “I hope this bill swiftly passes the House and heads to the White House for President Biden’s signature to recognize their sacrifice and patriotism.”

Hassan honored for bipartisanship

Recently the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University rated Hassan the seventh most bi-partisan senator of the 2019-2020 session of Congress and the second most bi-partisan Democratic senator.

The rating measures bill sponsorships and co-sponsorships with members of the other party.

In the 2018-2019 session of Congress, Hassan finished 20th.

Additionally, CQ Roll Call referred to Hassan as the fifth most bipartisan Senator.

Pappas seeks to reform veterans’ debt collection process

Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), who serves as the Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced legislation with Congressman Troy Nehls (TX-22) to reform the VA’s debt collection process.

Pappas’s and Nehls’ legislation would fix VA’s debt collection process which generated and then collected $1.6 billion in debt from veterans in the last fiscal year. These overpayments are often the results of mistakes in disability payouts, changes in eligibility, or simple accounting errors which can lead to financial difficulties for hundreds of thousands of veterans, especially for those living on fixed incomes. The VA Beneficiary Debt Collection Improvement Act seeks to remedy these issues.

“With so many veterans already struggling to make ends meet in the wake of this economic crisis, it is unacceptable that VA’s mistakes and inefficiencies are creating undue financial strain for our veterans,” said Pappas.I am proud to continue my efforts to reform VA’s broken and onerous debt collection process by introducing this bipartisan legislation. Our bill takes critical steps to reform VA processes and will save veterans and their families money.”