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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

We must act to reduce gun violence

Aug 5, 2019
Catching up with Annie

Dear Friend,

We Must Act to Reduce Gun Violence

This weekend, our nation was once again struck by senseless acts of gun violence that took the lives of nearly 30 individuals. My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the tragic shootings in El Paso and Dayton – and to every community across our nation that has been impacted by gun violence. We cannot allow ourselves to grow numb to this violence. In February, the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require a federal background check for all gun sales. It’s long past time for Senate Majority Leader McConnell to bring this commonsense legislation to a vote. Congress needs to step up and help prevent these senseless acts of violence that have become all too common across our country. I support the Justice Department investigating mass shootings as domestic terrorism incidents and I will continue advocating for commonsense reforms to help protect our communities. 

Marking 200 Days of the Historic 116th Congress

Recently, my House Democratic colleagues and I marked 200 days of the 116th Congress — the most diverse Congress with the most women serving in our nation’s history. Since Democrats gained the majority in January, we have made a great deal of progress to improve the lives of everyday Americans. In my new role on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have had the opportunity to lead the effort to lower the costs of prescription drugs and maintain protections for those with pre-existing conditions. We have also passed legislation to enhance safeguards for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, voted to increase the minimum wage, and advanced measures that would help us fight back against the threat of climate change. In addition, I’m proud of our work to put net neutrality protections back in place that keep the internet fair and open for families and small businesses. We’ve accomplished a great deal, and I look forward to continuing our momentum and providing common-sense solutions for the challenges we face here in the Granite State and across our nation.

I’m looking forward to the August work period, and to holding town halls and events to hear directly from you! I’m excited to hear from you as I hold events on issues including the opioid crisis, veterans’ access to services and improving access to quality health care. 

Expanding Access to Health Care

In May, I was proud to see my legislation the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act pass the House. We cannot go back to a time when Americans with preexisting conditions can be charged more or denied care, and this legislation provides much-needed pushback against the Trump Administration’s repeated and ongoing sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and our healthcare system. It is deeply disappointing that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not brought this legislation up for a vote in the Senate, but I’m continuing my efforts to strengthen our health care system. 

Last week, I led House and Senate Democrats to unveil a resolution to undo the Trump Administration’s 1332 Waiver Rule, which would erode preexisting conditions for millions of Americans and allow providers to offer junk plans that cost more and cover less. Americans are tired of political attacks on their health coverage, and I hope my Republican colleagues in the Senate will support this resolution to strengthen preexisting conditions protections for their constituents and all Americans. 

Addressing the Immigration Crisis at the Southern Border

Last month, I traveled to McAllen and Brownsville, TX to observe the situation at our southern border. While I was pleased to see an improvement in the treatment of children and their parents compared to my visit last year, I was deeply disturbed by the inhumane conditions I saw at some of the border facilities. As Members of Congress, we must conduct oversight, which is why I voted in favor of legislation that provides emergency funding to address the humanitarian crisis at our border. I also support the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act, which would reform the way migrants are treated in Customs and Border Protection’s custody. The way our government is treating vulnerable men, women and children is an abomination and I will continue my work to ensure no family suffers while in our care. You can read more about my visit to the border and my work to address this crisis in my op-ed in the Concord Monitor

Protecting Our Environment

I’ve taken meaningful action to address the substantial threat posed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including introducing the Protecting Communities from New PFAS Act, which would halt the EPA’s approval process for issuing new PFAS chemicals. Earlier this year, I questioned EPA leadership about their PFAS Action plan to address PFAS in drinking water, and expressed my disappointment with weakening enforcement of federal environmental regulations and laws regarding pollution. 

I also am a cosponsor of the Climate Action Now Act, which would require the Trump Administration to remain in the Paris Climate Accord and establish a plan for how the U.S. will meet its commitment to reduce pollution. Americans elected a Congress that will act on climate change and the time to act is now. 

Combating the Opioid Epidemic

This past week, I reintroduced the Humane Correctional Health Care Act with Senator Cory Booker, which would repeal the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion (MIE), an outdated rule that strips health coverage from Medicaid enrollees who are involved in the criminal justice system. MIE forces many individuals in the criminal justice system into a vicious cycle of addiction, incarceration and recidivism that devastates families and communities, and drains state and local budgets while harming public health and our economy. This legislation would help break the cycle by investing in adequate treatment and giving the justice population the opportunity to heal, recover and make valuable contributions to our communities after leaving the system. I’m looking forward to discussing this legislation and how it can help the women in the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women in Concord, which I will be visiting this week. This is a commonsense bill, and I urge House and Senate leadership to bring it to a vote.

Last month, I was joined by Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester, Mike Turner, and Jackie Walorski to introduce the Community Re-Entry through Addiction Treatment to Enhance (CREATE) Opportunities Act, legislation to help expand access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) for incarcerated individuals. MAT has an important role to play in helping those suffering from substance use disorder recover and reclaim their lives, and this is a commonsense bill to provide a commonsense solution to put an end to the cycle between addiction and the criminal justice system. 

In May, I introduced the Respond NOW Act with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, my co-chair on the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force. This bill will provide tangible resources to address the devastating opioid epidemic which is affecting Americans in states across the country. 

Supporting Our Veterans

Our veterans and men and women in uniform have sacrificed so much in defense of our country, and we have a responsibility to ensure they can access the care and services they deserve. I was proud to see the Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Act signed into law in June. This bill, which I was a cosponsor of, would create a permanent legislative fix to help ensure “Blue Water” Navy veterans get the disability and health care benefits they deserve as a result of exposure to the dangerous pesticide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. 

In February, I applauded House passage of the Veterans Access to Child Care Act, which would expand and make permanent the VA’s Child Care Pilot Program, giving all veterans seeking mental health treatment with VA safe, reliable and free child care. The bill includes provisions from an amendment I introduced that would ensure VA accounts for any travel burdens, excessive driving or geographic challenges veterans may face in accessing these child care services. 

I was proud to pass a bipartisan amendment in June as part of the Omnibus Appropriations legislation to increase funding for the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program in fiscal year 2020. After bravely serving our country, all veterans should have the peace of mind that comes with having a safe, stable place to live. This increase in funds is an important step forward in our efforts to ensure that all veterans have the support they need when they return to civilian life. 

Strengthening Defense

Last month, the House passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes amendments I introduced to improve Department of Defense (DOD) Property Management, require military officials to consult with trauma experts when reviewing claims related to military sexual trauma (MST), begin a study on the partnership between civilian and military domestic and sexual violence response providers, and register all Civilian Protection Orders on DOD facilities. 

Preventing Sexual Violence and Supporting Survivors

I voted in favor of H.R. 1585, a bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in April, which passed the House. This bill, which I am a co-sponsor of, will help prevent domestic and sexual violence crimes from occurring and provide the support survivors need to heal. 

In June, I was joined by Representatives Jackie Speier, Brian Fitzpatrick and Alma S. Adams to reintroduce the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act, a bipartisan bill that will strengthen prevention efforts and the enforcement of laws to eradicate the epidemic of campus sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable. As members of Congress, we were elected to act on the critical issue of sexual violence, and we must move with urgency to end this outrageous epidemic. 

Here for You

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 603-226-1002 with any questions, concerns or ideas you have - I love hearing from you! I look forward to staying in touch, and I hope to see you at my town halls in the coming weeks. My office will be in touch with details soon!