Congressional Update: PFAS ban, law enforcement funding, ACA praise

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It’s June 21, 2021. Here’s a roundup of recent news from New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation.

Congressional dome. Credit/Wikimedia Commons

Hassan and Shaheen introduce bill banning PFAS in Cosmetics

This week, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) helped introduce the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act, which would ban the inclusion of PFAS chemicals in cosmetics products, such as makeup, moisturizer and perfume. The  bill is led by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and cosponsored by fellow Senators Angus King (I-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of man-made chemicals, which includes PFOA, PFOS and GenX. These chemicals can bioaccumulate in people over time and have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, decreased fertility and hormone disruption. First developed in the 1940s, PFAS can be found in food packaging, nonstick pans, clothing, furniture and firefighting foam.

Specifically, the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a proposed rule banning the intentional addition of PFAS in cosmetics, as defined by the FDA, within 270 days of enactment, and require a final rule to be issued 90 days thereafter.

Bill text of the legislation is available here.

Shaheen announces $1.3 million to support NH law enforcement and criminal justice system

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice (DOJ), announced that the DOJ awarded $1,380,376 in federal funding for New Hampshire to support Granite State law enforcement agencies. Specifically, the funding was awarded through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, which funds state and local law enforcement and criminal justice system initiatives, including those associated with fighting drug trafficking and responding to the substance abuse crisis. Of these federal dollars, the state was allocated $1,070,078, while eight localities received $310,298. Manchester received $176,731.

“I’m very pleased to announce these critical investments to support New Hampshire’s dedicated law enforcement officers and our state’s criminal justice system,” said Shaheen. “This funding will support initiatives to improve public safety in our communities, support victims of crime, strengthen crime prevention and much more. Supporting law enforcement and our criminal justice system will continue to be a top priority for me as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that determines funding for these grant programs.”

Delegation praises ACA decision

This week, members of New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation released a series of statements after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case that challenged the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.   

Jeanne Shaheen

For millions of Americans, the fate of affordable health care hinged on this case, which is why I’m so relieved that the Supreme Court made the right decision today. The Court’s ruling to preserve the ACA safeguards critical health care protections for thousands of Granite Staters and millions more throughout the country. If the Court had struck down the ACA, it would have delivered a crushing blow to New Hampshire families, many of whom have relied on the ACA as their lifeline to access care during the deadly pandemic. But even before COVID struck, the critical health care law helped hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters by enshrining protections for pre-existing conditions and bringing down prescription costs. Just as important, this ruling preserves our state’s Medicaid expansion, which extended care to more than 50,000 New Hampshire residents, including thousands of Granite Staters struggling with substance use disorders. Families can breathe a sigh of relief that the biggest threat to their health care has been thwarted. With this partisan court challenge to the ACA behind us, now is the time to get back to work to improve the health care law by reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs for American families.” 

Maggie Hassan

“Granite Staters can breathe a huge sigh of relief. The Affordable Care Act has been transformative for millions of Americans, increasing access to affordable health care coverage and protecting people with pre-existing conditions. For this case to come this far in the first place was irresponsible, and I applaud the Justices for stopping this bad-faith effort. We now must continue to build on the Affordable Care Act and make health care more affordable for Granite State individuals and families.”

Chris Pappas

“This is a welcome decision for the millions of Americans who have protections and affordable coverage because of the ACA. More than ten years since the law passed, opponents continue to play games with Americans’ health care, and it’s time to move beyond these partisan attacks. We must focus on passing legislation to strengthen the ACA and lower prescription drug costs, because all Granite Staters deserve access to quality, affordable health care.”

Ann Kuster

“Today, once again, the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – a crucial victory for Americans in the Granite State and across the nation. Despite Republicans’ repeated efforts to repeal this landmark health legislation in Congress and through the courts, the ACA remains the law of the land, and the crucial protections it provides remain in place. Thanks to the ACA, those living with a preexisting condition cannot be denied coverage or charged more for care, tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans are now covered, and young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they are 26. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to build on the progress we have made and expand access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”