NH Now: Maggie Hassan 4-7-20

In her interview with Chris Ryan, Senator Hassan discussed how we are currently dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic and what steps and programs will be needed in the future. The possibility of another stimulus package or a continuation of the recently passed CARES Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, was explored.

The senator was asked about how we should reopen schools and the economy now that there seem to be better results in dealing with the spread of the virus than were originally predicted. Senator Hassan cautioned that people need to continue following the recommendations of our public health officials, such as washing hands, maintaining a 6-foot distance, and wearing a cloth mask in public. Continuing these procedures like these will be necessary in order to flatten the curve—slow down the spread of the virus. The senator was wary that due to a lack of testing capability that the data might be unreliable. The senator praised the efforts of Governor Sununu and his team in dealing with the pandemic, and she mentioned that the New Hampshire congressional delegation has been working closely with the governor during the crisis.

Senator Hassan does believe that things are hopeful enough that we should start looking at how we should rejuvenate the economy. She is calling for congressional oversight to ensure that the Trump administration is doing everything that it can to implement all aspects of the CARES Act. In addition, the Senator believes that is vital to get feedback from the people that the bill was intended to help—small business owners and unemployed workers.

The prospect of an additional stimulus package is a distinct possibility. Senator Hassan stated, “I think that you are seeing Congressional leadership acknowledge that this is likely to last beyond what this first relief package was intended, and we are going to need to continue some of this relief going forward.”

The senator believes that a ramping up of the manufacturing sector is needed to increase the production of PPE, personal protection equipment, such as masks, gowns, gloves, etc.; ventilators; and increased testing capability. There should be more tests for COVID-19 and tests to determine who has developed antibodies for the virus, and, for that reason, can be cleared to return to work. She contends that current stay at home mandates have shown that with so many students working from home and employees doing telework, there is a serious need to increase broadband access to the internet.

Senator Hassan believes that it is important to have continued bipartisan support for these proposed stimulus programs. For that reason, she believes that lessons have been learned from the first stimulus package that was passed during the Obama administration. Although she would like to have legislation which would address climate change, she believes that it would probably be directed towards bipartisan interests of smart technology, such as improved battery storage.

In conclusion, the senator believes that either there will be another stimulus package or there will be a continuance of the CARES Act with congressional oversight to make sure that programs which were implemented are working smoothly.