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Kuster, Pappas announce estimated $1.5 billion for New Hampshire state, local and county governments in COVID relief package

By Telegraph Staff

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) announced that New Hampshire’s state, local, and county governments are projected to receive an estimated $1.5 billion in federal funding through the House’s latest COVID-19 relief legislation, the Fiscal Year 2021 Reconciliation Act. These funds will be essential to keeping Granite State first responders, frontline health workers, and other providers of vital services safely on the job as states and local governments roll out vaccines and fight to rebuild Main Street economies.

Of the estimated $1.57 billion, $966 million is earmarked for the state of New Hampshire, while $559 million will be reserved for counties, cities, and towns.

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires a bold and robust response to see our state and nation through to the other side of this crisis,” said Rep. Kuster. “Granite State counties, cities and towns have stepped up over the past year to keep their residents safe, and it’s critical that we provide them with the resources to continue serving their communities. In Congress, I’m focused on delivering much-needed support to New Hampshire and have pushed for funding to directly aid our local municipalities. I’m encouraged that New Hampshire is estimated to receive more than $1.5 billion in state and local funding in the next COVID-19 response legislation. This funding is not a fix-all solution, but it is a tremendous step forward toward ensuring no one is left behind as we continue to address this public health crisis. Now it’s time to get this legislation over the finish line as quickly as possible. I will continue fighting for our hardworking Granite State families, businesses, and first responders to ensure they have the support they need to thrive, and make it through this pandemic.”

“The State of New Hampshire and our local governments have been on the front lines responding to this pandemic and economic crisis since the very beginning,” said Congressman Pappas. “We must ensure our communities can continue vital response efforts, preserve essential services, and provide for a strong recovery. Without direct, flexible assistance, our state and local governments will be less prepared for the tough months ahead and may be forced to cut back on critical services, lay off workers, or raise taxes. All of those options will hurt Granite Staters and slow our response to the pandemic. That is why I have been urging Congress to provide robust funding for communities in New Hampshire. I am pleased that early estimates show that New Hampshire will receive significant funding through the COVID-19 legislation now pending in the House and I will continue to work to shape the final package so that it meets our state’s needs. This support will ensure that our state and local communities can weather this storm.”

The full House package is expected to include $350 billion for state and local governments nationwide and would create new State and Local Coronavirus Relief Funds.

Sixty percent of the funds would go to states and 40% to localities. Local governments of every size would receive dedicated allotments. Funds will be available until expended, awarded directly from Treasury within 60 days of enactment, and subject to eligible uses including to replace revenue lost, delayed, or decreased as a result of the pandemic.

Last year, Reps. Kuster and Pappas led a letter with every mayor and county commissioner in the state, including other local leaders, calling on Congress to prioritize state and local funding to backstop communities on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Rep. Kuster has been a leading voice in Congress advocating for more federal support for states as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Last year, Kuster released her Roadmap to Recovery, which details federal, state, and community actions to reopen the economy in New Hampshire and across the country and ensure no one is left behind as we recover from this pandemic.

Rep. Pappas has led efforts in Congress to secure additional funding for state and local governments since the start of the pandemic. One of the first actions Pappas took after being sworn into office in January was to join Republican Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) in calling on House leadership to make COVID-19 relief, including state and local funding, the 117th Congress’s top priority.

Following Pappas’s calls for action and introduction of legislation to address FEMA’s sudden decision to stop reimbursing local governments for COVID-19 related expenses last fall, the Biden administration recently instructed FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to reimburse 100% of COVID related emergency expenses under the Stafford disaster declaration.