NH Now: Chris Pappas 5-7-20

Congressman Pappas Says That in the Next Stimulus Package, “We Need to Double Down on Funding to State and Local Governments…This Is Not the Time to Put Them in a Bind Where They Have to Choose Between Raising Property Taxes and Police, Fire, EMS, and Education Services.”

In an interview with Chris Ryan, Representative Chris Pappas from New Hampshire’s First Congressional District discussed the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressman Pappas emphasized that the importance of increasing the availability of COVID testing was vital in controlling the spread of the virus to the most vulnerable portion of the population—residents of extended care facilities. The Congressman advocates a consistent testing regimen for nursing home workers and residents. As we gradually open the economy, the increased availability of testing is also important as people go to the dentist, have elective surgical procedures, or reunite with elderly family members.

Regarding the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, Congressman Pappas speculated about what should be contained in the next stimulus spending package. At this point, several approaches are being considered: President Trump favors a payroll tax deduction; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is interested in litigation protection for businesses; and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called for revenue protection for state and local governments. Despite the divided interests of the various factions involved, Congressman Pappas is hopeful that there will be a “marketplace of ideas” which will produce a bipartisan compromise. However, he seems most interested in putting together legislation which can help the State of New Hampshire and its county and local governments make up for its loss of revenues during the Coronavirus shutdown. Congressman Pappas and Congresswoman Kuster, with the support of the mayors and county leaders of New Hampshire, have asked the House leadership to provide funding which will be targeted to smaller communities that were left out of the CARES Act—Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The Congressman is also calling for continued assistance to individuals and small businesses, and local Chambers of Commerce.

In the conclusion of the interview, the problems faced by people in the middle class and the working poor, especially regarding housing, were discussed. The Congressman has signed on to a $75 billion proposal to create a homeowner assistance fund which will help those who are facing foreclosures.