September 11, 2020 Dear Friend,Americans will never forget the horrific terror attacks that took place nineteen years ago today at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We remember the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were lost that day. Our thoughts remain with their families and loved ones, and all who were affected by these cowardly attacks. We are profoundly grateful to the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who ran towards danger and risked their lives on that tragic day to help others, and we honor the incredible sacrifices made by so many brave Americans who answered the call of duty in the weeks, months, and years that followed. September 11th tested us as a nation, and now we are being tested again like never before.
September 11, 2020
Americans will never forget the horrific terror attacks that took place nineteen years ago today at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We remember the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were lost that day. Our thoughts remain with their families and loved ones, and all who were affected by these cowardly attacks. We are profoundly grateful to the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who ran towards danger and risked their lives on that tragic day to help others, and we honor the incredible sacrifices made by so many brave Americans who answered the call of duty in the weeks, months, and years that followed. September 11th tested us as a nation, and now we are being tested again like never before.
Tragically, more than 192,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and that number could double by the end of the year. We still have no national strategy to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, and President Trump continues to downplay the threat of the virus. On February 28, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar came before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the rapidly developing COVID-19 crisis. That same day, I told Secretary Azar that the key to any public health crisis is trust and credibility.
Questioning Secretary Azar in February. Watch here.
This week, we learned that in early February, the President knew that COVID-19 was dangerous, highly contagious, airborne, and more deadly than the flu. Headmitted thistojournalist Bob Woodward on February 7 – more than a month before he declared a national emergency for COVID-19. In the President’sown voice, we listened to him tell Woodward that he intentionally downplayed the threat of the pandemic. Any trust or credibility in this Administration’s pandemic response is gone. President Trump and his administration must take immediate action to mitigate the spread of this virus and save lives –they must listen to the doctors and experts and follow science. American lives depend on this.
While the situation is deeply troubling, we know that it’s possible to take control and slow the spread of COVD-19, because we have seen so many other nations do so. I am optimistic that if we all work together and the government takes action to save lives, we will get through this turbulent time.
Combating Pandemic Scams and the Opioid Epidemic
On Wednesday, I took part in an eight-hour virtual Energy and Commerce Committee markup of 38 pieces of legislation. I was proud to help advance two bipartisan bills that I have been working on with my colleagues on the committee. During the markup, I spoke in support of the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act, which I also offered an amendment to, and the Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020. The Opioid Response Grants program is a critical resource for communities in New Hampshire and across the country who are on the frontlines of the substance use disorder crisis. As the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, I regularly lead roundtable discussions with experts and providers to identify solutions to the evolving opioid epidemic – from the first wave of pain medication misuse, to heroin and fentanyl, and now the fourth wave of this crisis: stimulants. My amendment to the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act ensures the necessary flexibility to help those suffering from methamphetamine and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorder.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Granite Staters have set an example for the nation by pulling together as a community and helping their neighbors. It is unthinkable that some people are trying to use this pandemic to profit personally, yet that is the reality we face. The Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020, which we advanced in our markup, will help hold bad actors accountable and protect the most vulnerable Americans who are often targeted in these scams. I am proud that these bipartisan bills passed our committee, and I look forward to advancing them to the House floor in the coming weeks.
Supporting Vulnerable Granite Staters During the Pandemic
This week, I joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas to announce that New Hampshire will receive over $5 million in federal grants established under the bipartisan CARES Act. Specifically, the funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG). The COVID-19 pandemic knows no bounds, but it has been especially hard on vulnerable Granite Staters. This funding will help to ensure that New Hampshire seniors, those with pre-existing health conditions, and low-income families have enough food to eat, a roof over their heads, safe and reliable care for their children, and access to quality health care. While I’m pleased this funding has been awarded, Congress must provide additional assistance to support the American people during this unprecedented time.
Ensuring Housing for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence
I also joined the NH delegation this week to announce over $1 million for state organizations to provide transitional housing and other housing assistance to domestic and sexual violence survivors. After experiencing something as traumatic as sexual or domestic violence, no survivor should have to worry about having a safe place to live away from their abuser, especially during the current COVID-19 health crisis. This grant funding will help crisis centers bolster their efforts to provide housing for survivors in need, as well as strengthen support for survivors in other critical areas like child care, career counseling, and educational attainment. I’m very pleased by this development, and I will continue working to support survivors and ensure they have access to the services they need to reclaim their lives and heal from trauma.
Investing in Our Economy and Promoting Job Growth
Today, I led a bipartisan letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of continued funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) as Congress works to fund the government beyond September. The NBRC is headquartered right here in New Hampshire and has invested in countless projects that have created jobs in our rural communities. While the NBRC has made great progress promoting rural economic development, continued federal investment in the Commission is critical to sustaining its efforts.
Mourning One of New Hampshire's Best
I join all Granite Staters in mourning the passing of former Governor Steve Merrill, a passionate public servant, devoted husband and father and a friend to so many. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and loved ones at this sad time. Steve will be remembered for his commitment to the people of New Hampshire and his life of service to our nation and the Granite State.
News You Can Use
This week is Suicide Prevention Week. We all have a role to play in preventing these tragic deaths. If you or someone you know is struggling, know that there are people out there who want to help. Please call 1-800-273-TALK or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Your life matters and you are not alone.
If you – like me – have spent much of the past few months working remotely, you may have noticed that video chatting can leave you feeling exhausted. There’s a scientific explanation behind what some are calling “Zoom fatigue.” Check out this BBC article that examines why video chat can be more difficult than the face-to-face conversations we’re used to.
A COVID-19 vaccine that enjoys the full confidence of the American public is our best defense against this virus. Politicizing a vaccine would be detrimental to the health and well-being of the American people. We must have patience and faith in the clinical trials that will likely take months to confirm the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine.
As students across New Hampshire and around the nation return to school – whether in person, virtually, or a combination of the two – many questions remain about how to keep students, teachers, and school staff safe, and how to get more students into in-person classrooms. To achieve this, schools need guidance from this Administration and our federal government. Read more here.
COVID-19 testing is available at many locations throughout the Granite State - click here for a list of testing sites (and see map below).
It is important to remember that even if you feel fine and aren’t showing any symptoms, you still could have COVID-19 and infect others, so it is critical to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, keep a safe distance from others at public gatherings, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and avoid crowds. Click here for information about how to properly use cloth face coverings to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
While COVID-19 has been the primary virus on people’s minds, influenza (the flu) remains a concern. According to the CDC, getting your flu shot is more important than ever this year to protect yourself and those around you. For more information on flu symptoms and the differences between flu and COVID-19 symptoms, click here.