March 03, 2020
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) wrote to House and Senate leadership calling for the inclusion of language in the coronavirus emergency supplemental spending bill to ensure that states, including New Hampshire, are reimbursed for the cost of their ongoing efforts to combat the virus. The letter follows the announcement of the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the state. As New Hampshire officials continue to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to officially confirm this finding, it is critical that the state government receives the necessary federal support to sustain and grow its coronavirus response. The State of New Hampshire is currently ramping up testing capabilities, investigating potential cases, communicating with federal partners and working with individual communities on containment and mitigation.
“We are encouraged by the bipartisan commitment that has been developing to provide substantial federal resources through an emergency supplemental funding bill,” the New Hampshire delegation wrote. “By making this commitment a reality, we can ensure that states have the resources they need to work with the CDC to confirm positive results, investigate and disseminate critical information about cases, and combat this public health threat. While New Hampshire’s state and local governments stand ready to assist the federal government, it is essential that any allocation of state dollars to coronavirus response be reimbursed by federal supplemental funding. This reimbursement is necessary to maintain our state’s activities.”
The coronavirus supplemental spending package is expected to be considered by the House and Senate in the coming days. With six reported deaths in the U.S. so far, the New Hampshire delegation remains committed to providing funding sufficient to meet this rapidly evolving threat to public health.
Shaheen has been sounding the alarm on the need for additional federal funding and access to public information in preparation for the spread of the coronavirus. Ahead of President Trump’s budget announcement earlier this month, Shaheen sent a letter with the New Hampshire congressional delegation calling for the administration to appropriately fund coronavirus prevention efforts in the President’s budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2021. Shaheen also sent a letter with fellow senators urging the Trump administration to put forward an emergency funding request to Congress. Further, Shaheen joined a group of 25 Senators earlier this month, calling on the National Security Council (NSC) to address and coordinate administration efforts in response to the coronavirus and other global health security threats.
For more information on coronavirus in NH, residents are encouraged to visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/2019-ncov.htm. For the latest information from the CDC, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy:
We write to you today in support of the supplemental appropriations to prepare for and combat the coronavirus. As you work to bring this package to the floor, we ask that you ensure that our state and local governments are reimbursed for costs that are incurred while assisting with the federal government’s response.
As of today, there have been over 89,000 confirmed cases globally and over 90 confirmed and presumptive positive cases in the United States. The World Health Organization has raised the global threat level to its most extreme assessment. With multiple deaths and cases of person-to-person spread reported in the United States, it is imperative that the federal, state and local governments work together to contain and mitigate this outbreak. State and local governments play a crucial role in emergency preparedness. Our experts and officials are on the front lines of emerging crises and are tasked with managing the situation on the ground.
As the first presumptive positive case detected in the state is being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation, our state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been working with health care stakeholders on the ground in order to be prepared. The state has been informing the public on prevention measures, maintaining daily communication with federal partners, and working with individual communities in containment and mitigation efforts. DHHS has already allocated significant portions of its reserve funds to finance state-level coronavirus response to date to develop testing capabilities at the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories. More support and reimbursement from federal funds will be critical as our response to this potential pandemic evolves.
For several weeks, our New Hampshire congressional delegation has pressed the Trump administration to propose more resources to support state governments’ coronavirus responses. On February 5th, we sent a letter to President Trump urging him to support increased federal funding for coronavirus response, including through an emergency supplemental funding mechanism, so that diagnostic testing capabilities could be expanded by state governments in advance of the coronavirus spread. We are encouraged by the bipartisan commitment that has been developing to provide substantial federal resources through an emergency supplemental funding bill. By making this commitment a reality, we can ensure that states have the resources they need to work with the CDC to confirm positive results, investigate and disseminate critical information about cases, and combat this public health threat.
While New Hampshire’s state and local governments stand ready to assist the federal government, it is essential that the allocation of state dollars to the coronavirus response be reimbursed by federal supplemental funding. This reimbursement is necessary to maintain our state’s activities. We appreciate the attention you have already provided to this issue and ask that you ensure that state reimbursement is a component of the final emergency supplemental funding package that Congress will approve in the days ahead.
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