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Trump’s Sabotage Of The Affordable Care Act Will Hurt New Hampshire Families

Trump’s ACA Sabotage, Executive Order Will Gut Protections, Force Sickest to Pay Skyrocketing Prices, Destabilize Health Care for New Hampshire Families

Following an Executive Order that will increase junk insurance plans, news follows that President Trump will immediately end cost-sharing payments and destabilize health insurance markets

Concord, NH Yesterday, President Trump issued a new executive order that will expand the availability of junk insurance plans in a direct attempt to trigger the collapse of the entire private health insurance market and destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last night, the Trump administration signaled that it would also immediately end cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies, which analysts and advocates agree will destabilize health insurance markets in New Hampshire and across the nation.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated back in August that ending cost-sharing reductions would increase insurance premiums by 20% next year alone, effectively kick a million Americans off insurance, and add $194 billion to the deficit.

“These partisan, political acts are part of Trump’s relentless campaign to sabotage the ACA by forcing premium increases, creating instability in the market, actively interfering with the ability of consumers to sign up for coverage, and rolling back the contraceptive coverage mandate,” said Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins. “These actions threaten the collapse of the entire individual health insurance market and leave our sick and most vulnerable to pay the price.”

“For years, Trump and Congressional Republicans have called for the repeal of the health care law without offering any viable replacement. Trump is now bent on destroying the one health care law that allowed millions of Americans to gain health insurance and improved coverage for essential health care benefits like maternity, mental health, and prescription drugs. Trump is stripping these important consumer protections and ending critical payments that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage. Any problems in our health care system from here on out rest solely at the feet of President Trump and other politicians who have created instability and skyrocketing premiums, and allowed the sale of junk plans without the essential health coverage people need when they are sick,” Rice-Hawkins added.

“Last night, Trumpcare became a reality. By refusing to continue cost-sharing reduction payments, President Trump has committed his most shameful act of sabotage on the insurance markets, threatening the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans and making premiums skyrocket for millions more,” said Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party.  “Governor Sununu’s self-proclaimed closeness with Trump and his administration hasn’t yielded any help for New Hampshire. Instead, Sununu’s constant praise and support of Trump is starting to look like blind flattery.”

Buckley continued, “Make no mistake, Governor Sununu has precipitated Trump’s sabotage by fueling the flames of ACA repeal,  opposing Medicaid expansion, supporting various forms of Trumpcare, proposing Medicaid block grants, rejecting a reinsurance program, and refusing to join a bipartisan group of governors in calling for the protection of key health care protections. Rather than actively campaigning against dangerous Republican health care ideas, Sununu has either stayed silent or belatedly voiced his opposition once and disappeared. That is not leadership. Sununu is engaging in political calculation when Granite Staters need its governor the most.”

In a letter to President Trump in August, Governor Chris Sununu called for Trump to continue the cost sharing reduction payments. One of the main requests in the letter:

“Commit to funding CSR reimbursements for 2017 and 2018: Carriers calculate their rates far in advance, so continued uncertainty about the reimbursements fuel dramatic increases and could lead them to exit the market. This hurts consumers – most of all, those who cannot get coverage through work and do not qualify for federal subsidies. While I am sympathetic to the argument that these payments are a subsidy, to withhold them at this late date as carriers are trying to calculate rates is resulting in significant instability and further rate increases and fewer options.”

“Despite the American people’s rejection of the Affordable Care Act repeal, this new order is part of a concerted effort by the Trump administration to unravel the law’s patient protections and to destabilize healthcare marketplaces,” said Senator Shaheen. “This order only introduces more unnecessary chaos into our healthcare system, which undermines the healthcare that Granite Staters, and all Americans, depend on. The President must abandon these political efforts to destabilize the ACA, and finally prioritize working with Congress to address and fix this manufactured crisis. There are Republicans and Democrats who are ready to move forward with bipartisan legislation that will provide stability in the insurance marketplace, increase access to care and lower cost sharing.”

Senator Shaheen is leading efforts in the Senate to provide marketplace stability by permanently continuing and increasing eligibility for cost-sharing reduction payments. Her bill, the Marketplace Certainty Act, would make cost-sharing reduction payments permanent and expand eligibility to more working Americans.

“By deciding to stop payments for so-called cost-sharing reductions – which help lower deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses – President Trump is cruelly and intentionally raising health care costs for millions of Americans,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that stopping these payments would cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket for millions of Americans while also ballooning the federal deficit, yet the President moved forward with this plan out of political spite. I have pushed for months to get Congress to act to provide certainty around these payments and help block the Trump Administration’s blatant sabotage attempts, and now is the time to finally stop this madness.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said that Trump should be “ashamed” for his actions that “will torpedo the individual insurance market”

“He is right to be so ashamed of this spiteful action he would only announce it in the dead of night. Stopping these payments won’t just hurt the lower-income people whose out-of-pocket costs are defrayed by CSRs, it will also hurt every one of the millions of Americans who buy their own coverage. That’s because insurance companies say they are going to charge everyone more to make up for the lost funding. Congress must act immediately to fund CSRs and protect our constituents from Trump’s vengeful and destructive actions.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also spoke out against the order.

“President Trump’s announcement today sadly continues to take us in the wrong direction on health care. During the last several months, I have been encouraged by conversations with both Republicans and Democrats about how we can address the ongoing challenges with the Affordable Care Act.  I believe that there are areas where we can all agree on solutions to fix issues faced by some Americans. Today’s executive order simply reverts back to the failed repeal and replace mantra. This executive order will result in higher costs to consumers and less access to health care for Granite State families. I will continue to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to look for commonsense solutions to stabilize the individual marketplace and strengthen our health care system.”

This executive order is not about helping people gain insurance coverage it is outright sabotage.  Millions of hard working Americans will be harmed by this executive order.  Some will lose their coverage. Some will be force to go without coverage because the costs are too high. Some will be forced to pay outrageously high premiums as they have no other option for coverage.

The American People spoke out loud and clear against the Republican healthcare plan. The Senate rejected the measure over and over because even some Republicans know that this plan will due massive harm to the American people.  But President Trump does not care about the will of the people, he is running the country like a unhinged tyrant.


UPDATED to include statement from NH Democratic Leadership

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn, Senate Deputy Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff and House Deputy Democratic Leader Cindy Rosenwald issued the following joint statement:

“President Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing reduction payments will dramatically hurt New Hampshire families’ ability to afford and access the health insurance they need. The Trump administration’s varied attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections are shameful and it is abundantly clear that this effort is an attempt to settle a political score rather than act in the best interest of the American people.

Today, we are calling on Governor Sununu and New Hampshire’s Republican legislative leaders to pass a reinsurance program to provide as much relief as possible to Granite Staters who will see premiums go up an average of 20% next year as a result of President Trump’s decision to cancel CSR payments. We are also calling on New Hampshire’s Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to join Attorneys General across the country who are promising to sue the Trump administration to protect cost-sharing reductions. We will work with anyone, anywhere to make sure Granite Staters continue to see the protections and guarantees they have received under the Affordable Care Act and fight back against President Trump’s destructive sabotage.”

BREAKING NEWS: Carol Shea-Porter Not To Seek Reelection In 2018

Shea-Porter Statement on not seeking reelection in 2018

Rochester, NH— Today, Carol Shea-Porter released the following statement on her decision to not seek reelection:

“To the Good People of New Hampshire, the Greatest State in America,

Thank you so much for electing me to Congress for four terms. You gave me the great honor of representing our state and being the first woman ever to be elected to federal office from New Hampshire, and the first Democrat to represent New Hampshire’s First District in 22 years, and I have worked each day with only one thought—to serve our state and our nation. But the time has come in my life to pause and decide on a different path, so I am announcing my intention to leave the House of Representatives in January 2019, when my present term ends.

This has been a very difficult decision, given how much I have enjoyed serving [the people of New Hampshire] in the House and the fact that the 2018 election is shaping up to be like 2006, when I was first elected, an important time when Congress changed political leadership and was able to move America forward. While I certainly would enjoy being part of that, I felt the tug of family at our reunion on Independence Day, and I have continued to feel it. My family has said repeatedly that they would support any decision I made, and I am grateful to them for that and for all of their love and support through the years.

I have been blessed with an amazing staff who love New Hampshire’s people as much as I do, and with a very large contingent of wonderful committed supporters who share a vision of an America with government that believes in honest and open elections, creates opportunity for all, supports local business and grows the economy while it cares for its young, its old, and its most vulnerable citizens, and believes in good stewardship of our Earth and its resources. I first won in 2006 without a single paid staffer because of their hard work. I also thank Republican and Independent voters for their confidence, and I have listened to their concerns as well. Coming from a Republican family, I know that we need to hear each other, even if we don’t always agree on policy.

I have great faith in our ability to overcome challenges and to come together again, and I will continue to speak out. As Granny D, New Hampshire’s champion for campaign finance reform, said, ‘democracy is not something we have, it’s something we do.’ And as I always add, it will go away if we don’t “do” democracy by engaging on the issues and voting. I am greatly encouraged by the heightened civic engagement I am seeing.

I look forward to seeing the House change political leadership again and produce legislation that helps all Americans move forward, with both parties working together, and I will do my part to make that happen. I will also continue to advocate in Congress for the people of New Hampshire until January 2019. Thank you again for the great privilege of representing you.”


A personal note from Matt Murray, creator of the NH Labor News.

I have known Representative Shea-Porter for over ten years now.  She was the first Congressional Representative I met in person.  I have personally worked on her campaign in the past and have supported her all the way.  Carol is truly on of the smartest and most progressive leaders in the House and has spent more than half of time in Washington fighting the uphill battle against the Republican domination.  Carol’s outspoken advocacy for working people will be missed, but I would like to wish her the best in the future.


NHDP Chair Ray Buckley:

“Thank you Carol-Shea Porter for your four terms of service to New Hampshire and our country. You have served the Granite State with great distinction. Your unflinching devotion to the ‘99% of the rest of us’ for over a decade has been a clear call for reform & progress. New Hampshire is proud and honored to have you represent us in Washington and your presence will be dearly missed after 2018. Your leadership has undoubtedly inspired so many to stand up and fight for what they believe in. As the first New Hampshire woman elected to federal office, you are trailblazer and a role model for us all. While we are saddened by your departure, we know your leadership will have paved the way for another great New Hampshire leader to follow in your footsteps.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

“Throughout her career, Carol has been a stalwart defender and champion of New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “New Hampshire’s first district has been well served by her tireless devotion to the middle class and the most vulnerable in our society. As the first woman to be elected to New Hampshire’s federal delegation, she’s a trail blazer in her own right, who has been a fearless advocate for women’s equality. I look forward to working with her through the remainder of her term, and to seeing what the future brings.”

Senator Maggie Hassan: 

“Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has been a fierce advocate for the people of the first congressional district, and it has been an honor to serve alongside her. New Hampshire is a stronger state because of her tireless work to expand economic opportunity for Granite Staters, and her leadership will be sorely missed. I look forward to continuing to work with Congresswoman Shea-Porter for the remainder of the 115th Congress and beyond to deliver results for our great state.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster:

“Carol Shea-Porter has been an incredible advocate for the people of her district and all of New Hampshire in her four terms in office. The first woman elected to Congress from New Hampshire, she has been a trailblazer for women in politics and has served as a strong voice for hardworking Granite State families. I have always – and will continue to – value her counsel and friendship in the House of Representatives. I know that she will remain a force in New Hampshire as she fights to improve the lives of all Granite Staters.”

Republicans In The US House Push Through Drastic Cuts That Will Hurt Working People

Today, the US House voted, mostly along party lines to approve the Republican budget proposal.  The proposal would stick it to federal workers who will be forced to pay more for retirement benefits, eliminate cost of living adjustments for retirees, increase the calculation of retirement benefits from three years to five years, eliminate Social Security stipends for federal workers who retire prior to age 62, and takes an axe to Medicare and Medicaid.

“The budget does not achieve one penny of deficit reduction by closing tax loopholes that benefit billionaires and corporations. Instead, it drains resources from programs the American people need and strongly support, particularly those helping the most vulnerable Americans,” wrote the House Democratic Budget Committee Members. “The Republican budget burdens American taxpayers with a $1.6 billion bill to begin constructing a costly and ineffective border wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) was a resounding “No” on this budget proposal.

“A budget is a moral document that lays out our priorities for America. This year’s House Republican Budget once again shows a dangerous and destructive vision of our nation’s future that would leave seniors and working families to fall further and further behind,” said Shea-Porter.

“Today, House Republicans voted to end the Medicare guarantee and instead give seniors vouchers to fend for themselves. They voted to slash Medicaid, which supports about two-thirds of nursing home residents. And their budget calls for changes to the tax code that would further benefit the wealthiest and the biggest corporations at the expense of working families and small businesses. Like the President’s budget, this budget would use these tax cuts for the wealthy as an excuse to slash spending on education, infrastructure, medical research, veterans benefits, and other investments in our future.”

“Today, House Republicans showed us their road map to exacerbate inequality in America. I will keep fighting to keep this budget’s dangerous vision from becoming our reality,” Shea-Porter concluded.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also voted against the budget resolution.

“The extreme Republican budget that I opposed today sets all the wrong priorities for hardworking families in New Hampshire and across our country,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “This budget gives massive tax cuts to the ultra-rich while slashing critical education funding, infrastructure investment, consumer protection, and other vital needs.  The resolution also massively cuts Medicaid and Medicare and repeals the Affordable Care Act, which has been so critical in responding to the opioid epidemic. I will continue to oppose these misguided priorities as I fight for middle class families.”

The Hill magazine explained the proposed cuts to federal retirement in their article.

“A 6 percentage point increase in employee contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System, phased in over six years; the elimination of cost of living adjustments for FERS employees and a 0.5 percent reduction in COLAs for Civil Service Retirement System enrollees; elimination of the FERS supplement for employees who retire before Social Security kicks in at age 62; and basing the value of retirement benefits on the highest five years of employees’ earnings instead of the current highest three years.”

This means that federal workers are going to be forced to an addition 6% towards the federal retirement program. That is a pay cut for workers even after Trump announced a measly federal pay raise of 1.4%.

“In the years after the Great Recession, no other group sacrificed more for the American public than federal employees,” said J. David Cox, American Federation of Government Employees National President. “They have given up more than $182 billion in wages and benefits – totaling $91,000 per career civil servant.”

If these provisions are incorporated into the final budget, federal workers will see less money in their paychecks.

“This sets the stage for the federal community to pay for tax reform,” Jessica Klement, legislative director of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association told the Hill. “You’re paying for middle class tax cuts on the backs of middle class federal employees and retirees. It goes against the fundamental premise of this tax reform package.”

News also broke yesterday that federal workers are going to see a 6.1% increase to their healthcare premiums next year.

“These rate hikes mean less take-home pay for current and retired federal workers and another year of difficult decisions by many families on how to pay their bills. The premium hikes announced today by the federal government far eclipse any increase in wages or Social Security payments next year,” said Cox.

The pain for working people does not end there.  Republicans hacked up Medicare and Medicaid, slashing $1.5 trillion dollars from the programs over the next 10 years.  The plan would cut more than $1 trillion from Medicaid, the single largest insurance provider in the country, and $500 million from Medicare, to give more tax breaks to the wealthy.

“Cuts of more than $1 trillion to Medicaid will force states to make deep cuts in the number of people who receive benefits, or the amount of health care provided,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  “Over 70 million beneficiaries rely on Medicaid, including almost 6 million seniors who depend on it for their nursing home and home care services.”

“This budget raises the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and turns guaranteed benefits into a system of inadequate vouchers. It is a stab in the back to the millions who contribute to Medicare throughout their lives, expecting it to be there when they retire.”

“Knowing that President Trump is colluding with House Speaker Ryan to pass this budget after he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security is beyond appalling. Alliance members will send a clear message to members of the House: Hands off my Medicare and Medicaid,” Fiesta concluded.

If this budget does go through as written it will increase our national deficit and slash programs working people rely on.

The Republican Sabotage Of Healthcare

We can all agree that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect but it was a monumental step in the right direction at a time when insurance companies were raking in record profits, jacking up rates by double digits, making the cost of insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans.

Since the ACA passed, Republicans have been trying to repeal it. Over the last eight years, Republicans have made more than 60 attempts to repeal the bill and only in the last six months have they ever offered any type of replacement.

Their latest replacement plan, that was ironically killed by three moderate Republicans in the Senate, would have kicked an estimated 32 million Americans off of their healthcare plans and would have transitioned Medicaid into a block grant system.  Ending Medicaid would have left millions of children, seniors, and the disabled without out any coverage at all.

Medicaid is the largest single provider of insurance in the country.  Nearly 40% of all child births in New Hampshire are covered by Medicaid.  Medicaid covers the cost for millions of disabled Americans who use funds to live in their own homes.  This is why dozens of ADAPT (Americans Disabled Attendant Programs Today) members protested during the Senate hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill.

“Graham-Cassidy is the worst bill yet that Republicans have come up with to repeal Obamacare. This wasn’t what they campaigned on; they didn’t campaign to strip away the services that disabled people and seniors rely on to live in the community,” said Bruce Darling, an organizer with ADAPT. “They campaigned on fixing Obamacare and I don’t understand why they continue to target our community with cuts that will steal disabled lives instead of actually fixing anything.”

Cuts to Medicaid funding will fall first and hardest on community based services, forcing disabled people into institutions which will be underfunded hives of abuse, neglect, and human misery.

“The cuts to Medicaid funding are cruel and un-American,” said Dawn Russell, ADAPT organizer from Denver Colorado. “Forcing disabled people and seniors into institutions just to pay for tax cuts, which is what this bill does, is not equality. It’s not liberty. Graham-Cassidy is a policy for a much crueler and meaner country than this one, and the people who support it should be ashamed of themselves.”

Recently, Senator Hassan shared the story of Bodhi Bhattari, a Concord boy who experiences spinal muscular atrophy and needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in life-saving drugs every year. Bodhi’s mother, Deodonne Bhattarai, told WMUR that under the Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare proposal, “If we sold our house, we could probably keep him alive for another year.”

Now, the New Hampshire Department of Insurance estimates that 25,000 people, who get their insurance from the healthcare exchange, will see a 52% increase.

“Among 97,000 people in the individual insurance market, the 74 percent who either get federal subsidies or are part of the expanded Medicaid program will likely see their premiums drop or remain flat in 2018. But the 26 percent who pay the full cost will see sharp increases,” wrote Holly Ramer of the Associated Press.

The news of this dramatic increase on those trying to provide healthcare for their families, outraged legislators.

“I am outraged that some middle-class New Hampshire families will suffer huge premium hikes next year because of the chaos D.C. Republicans have created in the individual insurance market,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.  “This is exactly why I spent the past year urging my colleagues to pass bipartisan marketplace stabilization legislation, which would have provided insurers with needed certainty, and also why Congress should pass my bill, the Medicare You Can Opt Into Act, and make sure every American has an affordable option that’s not vulnerable to profit-driven rate hikes.”

“That said, let me be clear: thanks to the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion, New Hampshire’s uninsured rate is at an all-time low, and I will not allow Republican state officials to use the disruption their party has caused in the individual market as justification to jeopardize that progress by ending an essential program that covers over 50,000 people in New Hampshire,” Shea-Porter added.

In the US Senate, Senator Shaheen has been working to avoid these rate hikes. Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen introduced the Marketplace Certainty Act to permanently appropriate payments for cost-sharing reductions to help stabilize state marketplaces and expand eligibility for hard-working Americans who need help paying their premiums.

“These rate increases for next year would be devastating, yet have always been avoidable,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “This administration has followed through on President Trump’s threat to sabotage healthcare marketplaces as leverage to repeal the Affordable Care Act. New Hampshire families are now forced to pay the price for the Trump administration’s shameful behavior. I have been pleading with Republican leadership to allow bipartisan efforts to stabilize the healthcare marketplace to move forward, but instead, they chose to use this valuable time to make another attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act—a law that has helped tens of thousands of Granite Staters gain access to healthcare coverage. Republicans must return to the negotiating table and work with Democrats to craft bipartisan legislation that would stabilize the marketplaces. We need to work together to mitigate the harm caused by the Administration and help working families access quality and affordable insurance.”

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Maggie Hassan participated this month in bipartisan health care hearings focused on stabilizing the individual health insurance market and lowering costs.

At a press conference after the defeat of the Graham-Cassidy bill, Senator Hassan said:

“We know that there is more to do on health care. There isn’t a Democrat here who doesn’t know that there are improvements we need to make. I am committed to working with members of both parties on the HELP Committee and throughout the United States Senate to come together and find ways in the short-term to stabilize our markets and lower costs. We have to address pharmaceutical costs. We have to address health care outcomes. But as long as there is this threat out there of another Trumpcare attempt, it’s going to be harder for us to do that, and it’s going to cause disruption in the very lives of the people we were sent here to represent.”

In the U.S. House, Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who also saw the possibility of massive rate hikes looming, has been working to stabilize the marketplace. Earlier this year, Kuster and nine House Democrats unveiled a five-part plan to improve upon the Affordable Care Act and stabilize the individual marketplace.

“I’ve discussed with Republican colleagues various proposals to stabilize the individual marketplace and rein in costs. I genuinely believe that there are many areas of agreement that can be reached to improve our healthcare system and I’m hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will come to the table in good faith to get this done for the American people,” said Kuster.

Not only has the President and the Republican leadership actively worked to repeal the ACA, they have been ensuring its failure by slashing funding to the program.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter pushed back by calling on the President to release funding allocated for the exchange “navigators” program.

“Navigators are an essential resource for the American people, and the Navigator program is critical to the success of Open Enrollment. We urge you to unfreeze these funds immediately,” Shea-Porter wrote. “Americans already face a number of new hurdles to enrolling in coverage during the upcoming Open Enrollment period, including an enrollment timeframe that has been cut in half and a 90% cut to the outreach budget that could have informed consumers about this significant change. Destabilizing the Navigator program could further compound the challenges consumers will face in understanding when and how to enroll.”

Shea-Porter also submitted an amendment that would save the Navigator grant program from elimination in House Republicans’ Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill.

We have known for a while that the ACA needs adjustments, but you would not toss out your car because of a loose spark plug.  We need to stop this ideological and political attack on the ACA and do what is really needed to help working families.

Of course there are many among us who believe the best way to solve the entire insurance issue is to eliminate private insurance all together and move to a national single player system.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter Responds To Governor Sununu On Proposed Tax Reform Legislation

Congresswoman: Tax Plans Must Prioritize New Hampshire’s Working Families 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today responded to a letter Governor Chris Sununu sent her earlier in September regarding potential tax reform legislation. Shea-Porter’s letter outlines the pro-working-family, pro-small-business principles she will use to evaluate any Congressional tax proposal.

“I have long called for the elimination of tax expenditures written by corporations and lobbyists with no justification but their own financial gain, while I have also strongly supported the many provisions that benefit Granite State residents and businesses,” wrote Shea-Porter. “My priorities have not changed: I will continue to fight to unrig our tax code so that it supports working families and small businesses.”

In the letter, Shea-Porter outlined the principles any tax reform package must meet to earn her support. She wrote: “I am eager to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to reform tax policy in a way that achieves our shared goals of lowering taxes on small businesses and providing fairness for working people, and I am encouraged by your outreach regarding this effort…I strongly believe that tax reform proposals must meet the following minimum standards: fairness for families; lower taxes on small businesses; increased simplicity; inclusion of the Buffett Rule; and revenue neutrality.”

Shea-Porter has long championed tax reform “for the rest of us” while opposing recent Republican-led efforts to lower taxes for wealthy individuals and large corporations. In 2010, Shea-Porter sought to block the extension of Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Throughout her time in Congress, Shea-Porter has fought for tax breaks that help working families and support education. In 2012, she introduced the REPAY Supplies Act, a bill to allow K-12 teachers to claim an above-the-line deduction for classroom expenses, which became a permanent U.S. tax code provision. Earlier this year, she introduced a bill to make the above-the-line deduction for higher education tuition expenses permanent for students and families.

 

The full text of Shea-Porter’s letter:

Governor Christopher T. Sununu

Office of the Governor

 

Dear Governor Sununu:

Thank you for your September 5, 2017 letter expressing support for comprehensive tax reform. I could not help but notice, as I read your letter, that you highlighted a number of important issues that I, too, have long championed: fairness, tax relief for small businesses, and enhanced opportunity for American workers. My priorities have not changed: I will continue to fight to unrig our tax code so that it supports working families and small businesses.

As you know, tax reform has been a challenging goal for a number of years. In 2014, then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a comprehensive tax reform bill, H.R.1, The Tax Reform Act of 2014. Mr. Camp spent months developing his proposal and created a tax plan that was (on paper) revenue neutral, lowered rates, created fewer brackets—and was widely disliked. This was not surprising. As you know, tax reform plans are only easy in concept: close loopholes to pay for lower rates and consolidate brackets in order to simplify compliance for taxpayers and stimulate job growth. It all makes for an easy soundbite and attractive political messaging, but Republican Speaker John Boehner could not get this through because comprehensive tax reform is hard.

In practice, crafting tax policy that advances our shared priorities requires specificity. For example, the $1.5 trillion in “special interest carve-outs, loopholes, and tax credits” that you identify in your letter – a figure commonly cited by the Treasury Department and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation – includes not only corporate giveaways, but also provisions like the mortgage interest deduction that benefit New Hampshire families and the real estate industry, which are very important to our state and national economy.

I have long called for the elimination of tax expenditures written by corporations and lobbyists with no justification but their own financial gain, while I have also strongly supported the many provisions that benefit Granite State residents and businesses. From the level of detail provided in your letter, I am unable to discern which tax expenditures you consider wasteful and which expenditures you think we should keep.

Do you support the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits, which together lift nearly 10 million Americans out of poverty? Do you support the exclusion for combat pay for our servicemembers? Do you support the exclusion for GI Bill benefits for our nation’s veterans? Do you support the mortgage interest deduction? Or property tax deduction? Or credits for higher education that help 12.6 million Americans and over 38,000 Granite Staters afford a college education? I do, and I will continue to speak up in support of these provisions – by name – as Congress works to reform our tax code.

I also agree that there are ways to simplify and eliminate waste from our tax code. For example, I believe we should eliminate the carried interest loophole, which allows Wall Street bankers to pay far lower taxes than middle class Americans, and end wasteful corporate subsidies, such as those for Big Oil. And I believe we should eliminate all tax incentives that encourage outsourcing jobs. These are just a few specific examples of changes that I support.

I am eager to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to reform tax policy in a way that achieves our shared goals of lowering taxes on small businesses and providing fairness for working people, and I am encouraged by your outreach regarding this effort. Unfortunately, the proposals that we have seen thus far from those leading the tax reform negotiations would disproportionately benefit the wealthy and add trillions to our debt. Furthermore, these proposals have not been made public or evaluated through the Congressional hearing process. Tax reform negotiations should be bipartisan, but neither the White House nor Republican leaders in Congress have made any effort to involve Democrats in this process. The Ways and Means Committee held over 30 public hearings prior to releasing Mr. Camp’s Tax Reform Act of 2014. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was preceded by 30 days of full committee hearings.

I strongly believe that tax reform proposals must meet the following minimum standards: fairness for families; lower taxes on small businesses; increased simplicity; inclusion of the Buffett Rule; and revenue neutrality. It is my hope that we are in agreement both on these principles and on the elimination of the loopholes and corporate giveaways that I have specifically identified.

Your public support for these efforts, on behalf of those in the State both of us love and serve, would be sincerely welcome. I am hopeful that the Republican leadership in Congress and the President will work across the aisle to develop a plan that meets the standards outlined above. And I ask you to use your relationship with President Trump to influence him to release a detailed plan with specific proposals that meet these priorities.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

Shea-Porter Calls for Immediate Congressional Action on Expiring Health Care Programs, Hurricane Relief

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today called for immediate Congressional action to reauthorize expiring health care programs and provide disaster relief to those impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“With five days remaining until the end of the fiscal year, it is irresponsible and unacceptable that House Republicans have failed to schedule votes to reauthorize expiring funding for the Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers. Congress should also act immediately to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as they struggle with the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Shea-Porter.

Shea-Porter has repeatedly called for action to reauthorize the Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is set to expire this Friday, September 30 without Congressional action. In New Hampshire, over 95,000 children were covered by Medicaid and/or CHIP in 2016. Shea-Porter voted to pass a landmark reauthorization and expansion of CHIP in 2009, which has played a significant role in driving the national children’s uninsured rate down to an all-time low of 5% as of 2016.

Shea-Porter, a longstanding champion of Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), earlier this month cosponsored a bipartisan bill, the Community Health Improvement, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017, which would extend CHC funding for five years. She also sent a letter with 46 bipartisan Members of Congress calling for continued NHSC funding. Without action by Congress before this Friday, September 30, New Hampshire’s CHCs will face a devastating 70% funding cut (which could mean a loss of nearly $16 million) and the NHSC will lose 100% of its funding. In New Hampshire, 12 CHCs receive federal funding for 29 sites serving more than 89,000 patients. New Hampshire CHCs employ 13 clinicians receiving NHSC loan repayment, and are currently recruiting for an additional 34 NHSC-eligible vacant primary care provider positions.

House Republicans have not yet scheduled a vote for Hurricane Irma and Maria disaster relief. Earlier this month, Shea-Porter voted for a bipartisan Hurricane Harvey disaster relief package. Shea-Porter’s advocacy for disaster relief is informed by her work as a Red Cross volunteer in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. The federal government’s inadequate response to that disaster helped inspire her to run for Congress.

Shea-Porter Announces 2017 Congressional App Challenge

 DOVER, NH – Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today announced a call for entries for the 2017 Congressional App Challenge, a competition aimed at encouraging U.S. high school students to learn how to code by creating their own apps. Since 2015, the Challenge has highlighted the value of computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and encouraged students to engage in these fields.

“I am excited to announce today’s call for entries, and I’m encouraging high school students in New Hampshire’s First District to hone their creativity and technical skills by entering the App Challenge,” said Shea-Porter.

The competition is open to all New Hampshire high school students who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of coding experience. Shea-Porter strongly encourages students of all skill levels to participate and learn how to create their own apps. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and be given Congressional recognition for their achievements in STEM and Computer Science. Their apps may be eligible to be featured in a display in the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. and on the Congressional App Challenge website.

The Challenge was created because Congress recognized that STEM and computer-based skills are essential for economic growth and innovation, and that the U.S. has been falling behind on these fronts. By some estimates, the U.S. may be short as many as a million programmers by 2020. These are high-paying, high-demand jobs. To maintain American competitiveness, it’s crucial that the United States invests in our youth now, and helps them acquire these valuable skills.

The deadline for entries is November 1st. For more information or to submit an entry, constituents may visit shea-porter.house.gov/services/appchallenge.  For further information about the Congressional App Challenge, please visit www.CongressionalAppChallenge.us.

Shea-Porter To Trump: Release Promised ACA Navigator Funding

Shea-Porter Leads 31 House Democrats in Urging Trump Administration to Release Promised Navigator Funding

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) led 31 House Democrats today in sending a letter urging the Trump administration to release promised funding for the Affordable Care Act’s Navigator enrollment assistance grant program.

“Navigators are an essential resource for the American people, and the Navigator program is critical to the success of Open Enrollment. We urge you to unfreeze these funds immediately,” Shea-Porter and other Members wrote. “Americans already face a number of new hurdles to enrolling in coverage during the upcoming Open Enrollment period, including an enrollment timeframe that has been cut in half and a 90% cut to the outreach budget that could have informed consumers about this significant change. Destabilizing the Navigator program could further compound the challenges consumers will face in understanding when and how to enroll.”

The letter, addressed to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, notes that on Friday, September 1st, HHS unexpectedly froze committed funding for the Navigator grant period that was scheduled to begin on Saturday, September 2nd. As of Monday, September 11th, grantees had received no update on when they should expect to receive this essential funding. The letter urges that funds be released immediately with a retroactive date of September 2nd.

The Members noted Navigators’ significance in keeping the Marketplaces stable, writing: “Helping Americans sign up for Marketplace coverage has many benefits, including strengthening the risk pool of the individual health insurance market. Conversely, discouraging enrollment could weaken the market and drive up premiums.”

Last week, Shea-Porter submitted an amendment that would save the Navigator grant program from elimination in House Republicans’ Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill.

2017.09.12 - HEA - Navigator Grants

Trump’s Sham Commission On Voting Integrity Meets In New Hampshire

Yesterday, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Voting Integrity convened their second official meeting at St. Anslem College, in Manchester, New Hampshire. The group, led by right-wing extremist Kris Kobach, who is currently the Kansas Secretary of State, continued to take aim at our voting rights.

Kobach gained local notoriety over the past week as he made the claim that Senator Maggie Hassan only won because of thousands of illegal votes from out of state residents. He claimed that because 3,000 people voted in NH with out of state licenses that their votes were examples of voter fraud. The claim was quickly debunked due to the fact that NH does not require voters to have NH drivers license or to register their automobile with the state in order to legally vote.

“It’s alarming to see New Hampshire being singled out by the national voter suppression movement,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “This Commission has no claim to credibility after failing to condemn last week’s out-and-out lies from Vice Chair Kris Kobach about our state’s voters. Granite Staters should consider any claims made during this meeting with extreme skepticism.”

“Study after study, report and report, and even previous commissions have shown that voter fraud is extremely rare and always very isolated,” said Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State. “That is proof that the current protections are working, but we have policies and technologies in place to allow us to facilitate the participation in the political process to more and more citizens. We have a moral obligation to do that.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who is currently serving the people of New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C, submitted written testimony to the commission.

In her testimony, Senator Shaheen condemns the commission’s clear intention to make it more difficult for Granite Staters to vote, writing, “The truth is that, here in New Hampshire and across the nation, voter fraud is extremely rare. I am deeply concerned that falsehoods about illegal voting are being spread as a pretext for restricting access to the ballot box. This risks disenfranchising eligible voters and undermining faith in our democracy.”

“Granite Staters take pride in our state’s brand of open and direct democracy, which encourages maximum participation, including by college students and active-duty members of the military who live in our state.  It is not the New Hampshire way to make voting unnecessarily difficult or to target specific groups of voters with deliberately onerous ID laws,” Shaheen wrote.

Senator Maggie Hassan joined Senator Shaheen in submitting legislation to disband the commission.

“I am deeply concerned that since its inception President Trump’s voting commission has attempted to mislead voters and erode trust in the voting process by pushing misleading claims that have been debunked time and again. It is clear that this commission is simply a partisan exercise to lay the groundwork for new attempts at voter suppression, which is why I joined Senator Shaheen in cosponsoring a bill to disband the commission.”

“President Trump’s voter commission has been formed with the predetermined conclusion that voter fraud is a widespread problem and that restrictive voter ID laws are necessary to safeguard our democracy,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “This is despite the fact there is no evidence of such fraud. Rather than protecting our democracy, voter suppression efforts threaten to undermine the legitimate right of people to exercise their self-determination at the ballot box.”

Kuster added, “The accusations levied by Secretary Kobach are an insult to thousands of local officials and volunteers, both Republican and Democrat, who ensure our free and fair elections in New Hampshire and make the Granite State worthy of being the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.”

“Our elected officials should be working to facilitate civic involvement and build voter participation, especially amongst college students and younger voters,” said St. Anselm student Olivia Teixeira on behalf of the NH Young Democrats. “Instead, with sham commissions like the one meeting today on my campus and through bills like SB 3, Republican’s are using baseless lies of voter fraud in an attempt to suppress voter turnout.”

“If we want to  attract and retain young people to our state, we should be working to empower younger voters to take part in our state’s proud democratic process by advocating for modernizing our voting systems and registration,” Teixeira added.

Aside from the continued discussion on the non-existent voter fraud problem the commission also discussed possible solutions to “strengthen” the integrity of the election process.

At one point, John Lott, a right-wing shill, proposed the idea of using the same background check system we currently use to buy firearms to verify a voters’ eligibility.  Lott is new to “voting rights” advocates however he is well know in “gun rights” circles.  Even before Lott presented his skewed testimony, the Brennan Center for Justice issued a warning, not to believe Lott’s “fuzzy math.”

“Lott’s statistical analysis includes far too many variables and controls – a tell-tale sign of statistical chicanery,” wrote the Brennan Center for Justice.

Additionally, Commission member and former Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, suggested that long lines at the polls were a “good strategy.” This is the same man who “distributed voter lists with the Social Security numbers of 5.7 million voters.”

“Today, we met the various characters who decorate Trump’s sham commission. Unfortunately, their fringe conspiratorial thinking is not a caricature but an understatement,” said NH Democratic Party Chair, Ray Buckley. “From absurd proposals to run registered voters through background checks to one commission member calling the creation of long voting lines a ‘good strategy’ to Kobach re-asserting his claim of voter fraud in New Hampshire, it’s clear this commission has an agenda, the focus of which is voter suppression. Kobach showed he was willing to lie to the Granite Staters’ faces about New Hampshire law and embarrass Secretary Gardner in his own state by delegitimizing election results.”

“This is a commission that welcomes, absorbs, and operates in conspiracy. President Trump is getting his way when this commission entertains baseless voter fraud claims, muddying the waters and creating uncertainty and distrust in our election system.” Buckley added.

Outside, over a hundred people gathered to protest Trump’s “sham commission.” Among the protesters were members of the NH Chapter of the League of Women Voters, the ACLU of New Hampshire, America Votes, the NAACP, Granite State Progress, Mayday.US, and the national group Let America Vote.

The protests also garnered a special appearance from Cleanup Carl. “Cleanup Carl is a 12 ft tall superhero for democracy. Committed to taking on the dirty villains trying to destroy our democracy with their toxic anti-voter influence.” Cleanup Carl is project of grassroots democracy organization MAYDAY America.

“This commission is the real threat. It’s a toxic mix for our democracy!” said Cleanup Carl through his spokesperson MAYDAY National Campaign Director Chris Tallent. “New Hampshire residents and Americans should take caution! Some of the most dangerous contaminants known to democracy, Kris Kobach, Mike Pence, and the rest of the sham ‘election integrity’ commission will be in New Hampshire this morning to try to advance their dirty agenda. That’s a volatile mix for democracy! Time to clean ‘em out of our democracy and uphold the right for everyone’s voice to be heard!”

Many of the people outside were also calling on NH’s Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, to resign from this “sham” commission.

“One thing is clear: New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner doesn’t belong with this cast of conspiratorial misfits,” said Buckley. “He has carried out free and fair elections for over four decades and any suggestion to the contrary is offensive, incorrect and dangerous. Gardner cannot risk sullying New Hampshire’s sterling reputation by remaining on a commission that is willing to travel to our state to insult us in service of a baseless conspiracy designed to suppress votes.”

Gardner, who is currently the longest serving Secretary of State, is “being used by the Trump/Pence sham commission,” said a group of New Hampshire Voters who recently started a petition calling for Gardner to resign his position in the commission.

In response to Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, the Democratic National Committee joined with allies and created the Commission to Protect American Democracy from the Trump Administration. The DNC held a press call to explain how the Trump administration’s voter fraud commission is working to suppress the fundamental democratic rights of Americans and to lay out the steps that Democrats are taking to fight back.

“Make no mistake: this isn’t a war on voter fraud, it’s a war on voters. And it’s only being waged by Republicans, and we will not let our guard down for a moment.  As Democrats, our goal is the engage every eligible American voter as an active participant in our democracy,” said Tom Perez, Chair of the DNC. “We want to make it easier for people who are eligible to vote, not harder for them to vote.  And that means fighting voter suppression tactics to create free, fair, and accessible elections.  We must protect the one right that preserves all others—the right to vote.”

“Instead of building themselves around policies that reach out to communities like minorities and low incomes folks and the elderly and the disabled, instead of doing that, they’re just going to exclude those folks from democracy.  That’s their solution.  And it’s cynical, and it’s wrong, and it’s un-American,” Jason Kander, Chair of the DNC commission, former Missouri Secretary of State, and President of Let America Vote. “We’ve had this argument before in America.  Folks marched across a bridge, American heroes did, in Selma.  And they faced batons, they faced down dogs and hoses, and it was all for the simple idea that in America everybody counts.  We shouldn’t go backward.  We should only go forward on these issues.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed public comments outlining the glaring problems with the Commission including its lack of ideological diversity or commitment to transparency in accordance with federal law.

“Today’s Commission meeting in New Hampshire lacked diversity, facts, or actual solutions to support our democracy and combat voting discrimination that we know prevents racial minorities from voting,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Instead, Kris Kobach and his colleagues continued marshaling data in misleading ways to continue building a false narrative that voter fraud exists.  This myth has been widely discredited, and yet we listened to commissioners reiterate these claims in ways that proved truly irresponsible.”

“Today’s Commission meeting must be viewed in the context of a Justice Department that has all but abandoned its obligation to enforce laws that would eliminate voting discrimination.  The Commission is part of the administration’s broader agenda to promote national policies that would make it harder for minority communities to vote,” Clarke concluded.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter Works To Address NH’s Manufacturing Woes

Shea-Porter Announces UNH Project to Address State’s Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Needs

Rep Shea-Porter at the 2016 NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast showing her support for working families.

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today announced that the University of New Hampshire has been awarded a $300,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to launch a pilot project in collaboration with the state’s community colleges and advanced manufacturing partners. The partnership will work to address the workforce needs of New Hampshire’s advanced manufacturing sector.

“This innovative project will leverage New Hampshire’s strengths to address the pressing need for in-state advanced manufacturing workers,” said Shea-Porter. “I congratulate UNH on launching this unique partnership, which will also support low-income students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs at our community colleges.”

UNH’s pilot project will be a collaborative effort with the Community College System of New Hampshire, local advanced manufacturing businesses, and the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs to address workforce development in the advanced manufacturing sector in the state. The grant will provide mentorship, paid internships and job placement for students as well as work with businesses throughout the state. Advanced manufacturing is the use of innovative technology to improve manufacturing products or processes. It’s a leading industry in the Granite State and a $1.7 trillion industry nationwide.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from NSF and Congresswoman Shea-Porter,” said P.T. Vasudevan, senior vice provost for academic affairs at UNH and the principal investigator on the $300,000 grant. “We believe working to support and retain low-income students currently in the degree programs that will help us to grow the pipeline of advance manufacturing workers will benefit not only students and industry leaders in the state, but the state as a whole.”

UNH received one of 27 new awards through NSF’s INCLUDES program, aimed at enhancing U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations through a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In 2009, Shea-Porter helped initiate New Hampshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership in Education (AMPEd), which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and has successfully helped New Hampshire businesses and colleges partner to invest in the state’s manufacturing workforce.

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