Congressional Roundup: Kuster Gaza comment, HAVANA Act, Retirement Flexibility

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It’s May 23, 2021. Here’s a roundup of recent updates from New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation.

Congressional dome. Credit/Wikimedia Commons

Kuster Issues Statement on Gaza

Following U.S. Representative Chris Pappas’ (D-NH) statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH) also made a statement on Wednesday.

“As the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas continues, it is imperative for the United States and the international community to step up, speak with a unified voice, and forge an immediate cease-fire between both sides. The heartbreaking loss of life — particularly innocent civilians and children — underscores the necessity to prevent further bloodshed,” she said. “Meaningful diplomatic discussions can only commence after a cease-fire has taken place, and I have long supported a two-state solution to achieve peace in the Middle East. Through international cooperation with our allies and engagement with the UN Security Council, the United States can help advance a cease-fire that will save lives and prevent further suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Hassan Introduces Bill Supporting Small Business Flexibility

This week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and James Lankford (R-OK.) today introduced the Improving Access to Retirement Savings Act. This bill will build off the successful implementation of the SECURE Act and make improvements so that more organizations and small businesses can participate in multiple employer plans (MEPs).

“No American should have to worry about affording retirement after a lifetime of hard work,” Hassan said. “That’s why I have joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing this commonsense bill that helps expand retirement options. I will keep working to build support for this legislation and help strengthen retirement security for workers across New Hampshire.”

This legislation has support from the American Benefits Council, Insured Retirement InstituteAmerican Council of Life Insurers and the American Retirement Association.

Shaheen Introduces HAVANA Act

This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) helped lead an effort to support American public servants who have experienced brain injuries from reported directed-energy attacks by introducing the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The HAVANA Act would authorize the CIA Director and the Secretary of State to provide injured employees with compensation for brain injuries. Both the CIA and State Department would be required to create regulations detailing fair and equitable criteria for payment. This legislation would also require the CIA and State Department to report to Congress on how this authority is being used and if additional legislative or administrative action is required.

“It’s unacceptable that American public servants and their families have suffered alone for years with these mysterious brain injuries, without full transparency or guarantee of treatment. Our personnel deserve better. That’s why I’ve been sounding the alarm to get to the bottom of these attacks and provide critical support to those who’ve fallen victim to these attacks,” said Shaheen. “I’m proud to join Senator Collins and this bipartisan group of lawmakers to build on my efforts and provide more equitable care for those who’ve been injured so we can ensure all those affected – regardless of what agency they served – are properly compensated for injuries they suffered while serving our country. I’ll continue to work across the aisle in Congress to make this issue a top priority and will keep raising this with the administration to form a whole-of-government response to uncover the source of these attacks and take care of those who’ve been targeted.”

The HAVANA Act is also cosponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Angus King (I-ME) and James Risch (R-ID).

Full text of the bill is available here.