In Interviews with WKXL’s Chris Ryan, Congresswoman Annie Kuster and Congressman Chris Pappas Discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic. New Hampshire’s Congressional Representatives Describe the Current Public Health Situation and the Steps Needed for Economic Recovery.
Congresswoman Kuster addressed some of the problems with remote learning. There are connectivity issues which occur in poor communities or more rural areas.
The Congresswoman feels that the two aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are intertwined. There must be a balance between public health and safety and reopening the economy. She calls for more testing, contact tracing, and voluntary isolation of Coronavirus cases. Congresswoman Kuster points out that the number of COVID cases has dropped to 2-3%, but the goal is 0%. On the business front, she feels that big, bold action is required to fend off an economic collapse. Congressman Pappas encourages everyone to continue taking personal responsibility—maintain social distancing, wear masks, and practice good hygiene– to prevent a resurgence of the Coronavirus.
When they were asked about the $3 trillion HEROES-Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act which recently passed through the House of Representatives, both Congresswoman Kuster and Congressman Pappas liked that the proposed bill would reimburse state, county, and local governments which have lost revenue during the shutdown. This reimbursement would prevent governments from cutting back on essential services. Both representatives acknowledge that the HEROES Act is a long way from being accepted by the Republican dominated Senate or being signed by President Trump. They both predict that there will be some parts of the bill that both sides can live with and that a compromise will eventually be negotiated.
Small businesses are vital to the character and social fabric of the towns and cities of New Hampshire. The Representatives were asked about the future of these small to mid-sized companies which are usually in the hospitality business. Congressman Pappas said, “Every service-oriented business is going to be under tremendous strain. We are not going to see the number of visitors that we typically see coming to New Hampshire in the summer months.” He added that due to the health restrictions which have been put in place, no business is going to be able to run at capacity. Extensions of loans and grants and changes in the terms or conditions of future stimulus plans will be needed to get businesses through these hard times which will be continuing.