IN NEW HAMPSHIRE and across the country, hard-working families have been facing high costs for essential goods. While we have seen prices at the pump drop for the 11th week in a row, folks continue to feel the impact at the grocery store and for housing and other essentials.
There is no single cause for inflation — we are recovering from a global pandemic, Vladimir Putin is continuing to wage an unprovoked, unwarranted war in Ukraine, and even the slightest disruption to our supply chains can lead to lengthy shortages of essential goods.
That’s why I unveiled my Lower Costs & Stronger Economy Agenda outlining the steps Congress has already taken to reduce costs and address inflation, as well as a comprehensive roadmap for what more needs to be done to provide financial relief for Granite Staters.
I worked to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which is now law, to lower costs and address inflation all while reducing the deficit and ensuring wealthy corporations pay their fair share in taxes. This transformative bill empowers Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, lowers health care costs, and represents a crucial step forward in addressing climate change and reducing energy costs.
We must use every tool at our disposal to stop price hikes on essential goods and tamp down inflation. I pushed the Biden administration to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to ease gas prices, and after my urging, they did just that. With the cold winter months approaching, I also called on the administration to release supplies from the heating oil reserves to lower costs in New Hampshire. Efforts are underway to untangle supply chains to expand access to goods — but, more must be done to lower costs for Granite State families.
My Lower Costs & Stronger Economy Agenda includes an outline of what more we can and must do to address rising costs and bolster our economy:
Filling gaps in the workforce: Updating American workforce development, immigration policies, and increasing the availability of affordable child care can all help address labor market shortages. We are currently experiencing historically low unemployment in New Hampshire — the policies outlined in my agenda will better prepare people entering the workforce, empower people to improve their career skills, retrain dislocated workers, and increase the labor supply.
Increasing the supply of affordable housing: The lack of affordable housing and the workforce crisis go hand-in-hand. I pushed the Treasury Department to make American Rescue Plan funds available for affordable housing. We should be investing in federal programs to build new workforce housing.
Lowering the price of food: Inflation is impacting food prices everywhere. To address this, policies must spur more competition and fairer prices for Granite State farmers in food processing and distribution, address the high cost of trucking, and encourage growing food closer to home. My agenda also includes extending cost-saving American Rescue Plan nutrition assistance and flexibility, including enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) benefits.
Lowering energy prices and transition to a clean energy economy: We have made progress, but more can be done as we work to lower costs and transition to a clean energy economy, including continuing to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, easing market and regulatory barriers to innovation, and deployment of solar, wind, and geothermal energy, as well as passing the 21st Century Dams Act to invest in hydropower.
Investing in the long-term financial strength of our nation and families: This roadmap was assembled with the knowledge that we must make responsible decisions so that we can continue to afford critical investments with our future in mind. By cutting wasteful spending, streamlining duplicative programs, and finding inefficiencies throughout government, we can reduce the deficit in a balanced way that protects priorities such as education, research, and health care.
Suspending and reducing tariffs and other trade barriers: We must reduce barriers to trade that increase costs for American consumers and manufacturers, relax overly restrictive regulations in order to keep costs low while supporting American workers, and engage with allies and close trading partners to increase economic cooperation and pursue trade agreements to further secure global supply chains.
The people of New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District put their trust in me to fight for our communities and deliver real results. Granite Staters need relief. The steps and policies outlined in my agenda have the power to deliver much-needed relief and ensure economic growth and resiliency for generations to come.
Rep. Annie Kuster (D) represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District. She lives in Hopkinton.