Here’s a roundup of early August updates from U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
COVID relief efforts
In recent days, Hassan has announced several pieces of legislation to help the nation deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Aug. 6, she introduced legislation with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to improve patient record matching among healthcare providers. The “Patient Matching Improvement Act” would make it easier to link records for an individual patient across multiple healthcare providers, facilitating contact tracing efforts.
On Aug. 7, Hassan joined with Senator Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) to introduce two bills. The first, titled as the “Stop PPE Taxes Act”, temporarily suspends 301 tariffs related to medical products needed to fight COVID-19. The second, known as the “Strategic Global Supply Chains Act,” requires the U.S. International Trade Commission to regularly provide reports on imports of such products.
On. Aug. 10, Hassan joined with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to introduce the “Automatic Cash Assistance Act,” which would ensure that Social Security, Veterans Affairs (VA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries receive the COVID-19 relief stimulus benefits they are entitled to.
Post Office Concerns
Over the past week, Hassan has joined with other members of New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation asking for answers regarding funding of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
On Wednesday, the four members of delegation expressed concern over reported delays of vital medication, food and benefit payments they have heard from constituents.
They added that the USPS plays a vital role in helping the nation function during the pandemic and urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to address the issue.
“We are very concerned about reports of recent policy decisions made at the agency under your tenure, including instructing workers to leave mail behind at distribution centers, restricting transportation practices, and cutting overtime. These harmful policies undermine the fundamental commitment to service on which the USPS was founded,” they said in a letter to DeJoy.
Hassan also joined Shaheen and other Democrats in urging DeJoy to address recent changes to long-standing practices at the USPS.
“Like voting itself, the USPS is vital to our democracy. Since you assumed the role of Postmaster General, there have been disturbing reports regarding changes at USPS that are causing significant delays in the delivery of mail. Under normal circumstances, delayed mail is a major problem – during a pandemic in the middle of a presidential election, it is catastrophic,” the lawmakers wrote in a separate letter to DeJoy.
Questions on Portland protests
On Aug. 6, Hassan questioned Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), during an oversight hearing on the federal government’s response to protests in Portland, Oregon.
Hassan expressed concern over DHS response to the ongoing protests, which have now been going on for several months.
“As DHS personnel work to protect federal buildings and their occupants, it is critical that they take all possible steps to try to de-escalate any confrontations – both to protect themselves and others,” said Senator Hassan. “Two of your predecessors at the Department – who both served under a Republican administration – have expressed concern that that wasn’t what happened in Portland. De-escalation wasn’t what happened.”
Hassan’s questions can be found here.