Congressional Roundup: Iraq vote, train bill, dropping poll numbers

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It’s June 23, 2021. Here is a roundup of recent news regarding New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation.

Congressional dome. Credit/Wikimedia Commons

Pappas and Kuster vote to end 2002 Iraq Resolution

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution passed in 2002. The 2002 Iraq AUMF was signed into law on October 11, 2002, which allowed United States Armed Forces to engage in military operations against the regime led by Saddam Hussein. The 2002 Iraq AUMF has been used by previous administrations as the basis for military engagements outside of Iraq

Both of New Hampshire’s House members voted to repeal the resolution.

“It is long past time to repeal the 20 year-old Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, which passed when I was a student in college and was used in a way that far exceeded the original intent of the legislation,” said Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH-01). “We can address threats to the United States’ interests and national security while reasserting Congress’s proper oversight role. Any future military actions must be narrowly defined, effectively executed, and brought to a close when the mission is complete. The American service members who have served in the Middle East have done all we have asked and more, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. As a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs I am committed to ensuring they get the care and support they have earned.”

“Regardless of who the President is, any decision regarding where our men and women in uniform are deployed should be heavily considered and ultimately approved or disapproved by the United States Congress pursuant to the Constitution,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH-02). “Nearly twenty years have passed since the 2002 AUMF was signed into law, and it is now outdated and an inappropriate justification for engaging in military activities beyond those prescribed in the authorization. The legislation we passed today ensures that Congress retains its constitutional responsibility to decide when and if to authorize our nation’s involvement in war.”

Senate Committee Advances Hassan Bill to Support Passenger Rail in New Hampshire

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted to pass the Surface Transportation Investment Act, which includes a bill that U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced to improve a loan program used to help develop passenger and short line railroads in New Hampshire and across the country.

“Expanding passenger rail in New Hampshire will reduce traffic on I-93, help commuters, and boost New Hampshire’s economy,” said Hassan. “This bipartisan bill will make financing passenger and short line projects more accessible by making it easier for businesses and communities to apply for designated federal loans. I am pleased to see this important bill advance, and I will keep working on bipartisan efforts to invest in infrastructure, including passenger rail.”

June Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center finds declining support for New Hampshire’s Delegation

A new poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center (SACSC) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) finds members of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation are getting pulled down toward the generic ballot.

Since March, the generic Democratic congressional candidate approval has dropped from 48% to 44% while the generic Republican candidate has seen a rise from 40% to 43%.

Job approval is down three to five points for each member of the delegation since March. Senator Jeanne Shaheen is down four points to 47% approval; Senator Maggie Hassan is down four points to 43% approval; Congressman Pappas is down three points to 42% approval, and Congresswoman Kuster is down five points to 43% approval.

New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque said that the drop was tied to falling job approval for President Joe Biden.

“As the President’s job approval and overall strength erodes, voters are becoming more pessimistic and this pessimism is exerting downward political pressure on the party in power,” he said. “Election Day is a long ways away, and we can expect a rebound for Democratic officeholders as the important of individual issues continues to wax and wane.”

The full poll can be seen here.