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Congresswoman Shea-Porter and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) Host Roundtable on Multimodal Transportation

CSPPortsmouth, NH – Yesterday, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) hosted a roundtable on the future of multimodal transportation and livable communities.  The event brought together State and Federal Department of Transportation staff, regional planning officials, business owners, and bike-walk activists.  

“I was proud to help secure TIGER grant funding that made the Memorial Bridge possible.  In order to rebuild our infrastructure and create a transportation system for the 21st Century, we need a public-private partnership. Federal investment in infrastructure spurs economic development. I support creating a National Infrastructure Development Bank and I am working in Congress to help states, communities, and businesses with transportation and infrastructure challenges.” Shea-Porter said.

“Congresswoman Shea-Porter is a leader in Congress in working to ensure that America’s infrastructure remains world class. New Hampshire has always been a trailblazer in searching for new, innovative ways to face our country’s challenges, and I’m happy to see that tradition continuing. This roundtable shines a spotlight on the reasons we need multimodal transportation options if we want to build communities that are healthier, secure, livable, and economically viable. It’s a pleasure to spend time with Carol and other experts and leaders who understand that,” said Blumenauer.

In Congress, Congresswoman Shea-Porter was instrumental in securing TIGER Grant funding to rebuild the red-listed Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth. The Memorial Bridge was successfully awarded $20 million in federal funding. The Congresswoman has repeatedly supported increased funding for transportation alternatives, and has fought to bring federal transportation funds to New Hampshire.  She is also a cosponsor of HR 2553, the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act, which would leverage private investments to create billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

 

Congressman Earl Blumenauer is a leading advocate for rebuilding and renewing America – from repairing the nation’s roads and bridges, to modernizing our water and electrical infrastructure. Blumenauer is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, where he works to strengthen long-term infrastructure finance.  Since being elected to Congress in 1996, he has traveled to hundreds of communities across the country, supporting economic development and sustainable transportation options.

Participants at yesterday’s roundtable included Paul Yarossi, President HNTB Holdings; Roger Bowers, VP Government Relations HNTB; Larry Major, Government Relations Pike Industries; Rad Nichols, Executive Director COAST Busses; Rick Taintor, City of Portsmouth Planning; Juliet Walker, City of Portsmouth- Bicycle coordinator; Mark Nelson, City of Portsmouth Public Works; Jeff Latimer, Owner of Gus’ Bike Shop; Bob Spiegleman, Bike Walk Activist; Tim Blagden, Executive Director NH Bike-Walk Alliance; Rebecca Harris, Director Transport NH; David J. Preece, CEO Southern NH Planning Commission; Scott Bogle, Senior Transportation Planner, Rockingham Planning Commission (also the head of Seacoast greenway); Eric Weiss, Trail Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance;  Patrick McKenna, Deputy Commissioner NH DOT; Patrick Bauer, FHWA NH Division Administrator.

 

Shea-Porter Announces TIGER 2013 Grant Agreement Reached for Northcoast Railroad

ROCHESTER, NH – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced that a Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) 2013 grant agreement has been formally reached for the New Hampshire Northcoast Rail Improvement Project.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) has awarded $1.4 million to be used to make repairs and improve sections of the rail line between Ossipee and Rochester.

In 2013, Congresswoman Shea-Porter and the entire New Hampshire delegation urged then-DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to support NHDOT’s competitive grant application for the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad Project, which will enable the railroad to expand its freight service on the line and operate it more efficiently.

“The Northcoast line connects to the national freight rail network via Boston and is a vital transportation link for the Granite State. These repairs will complete a multi-year effort to modernize the rail line in partnership with local communities and the private sector,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “We must invest in the transportation infrastructure necessary to move the New Hampshire economy forward, and I will continue to fight to bring more TIGER grant dollars to our state.”

The full text of the letter follows:

May 29, 2013

The Honorable Ray H. LaHood, Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC  20590

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We write in support of the Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) V grant application submitted by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) for the upgrade and repair of 42 miles of main line rail between Rochester and Ossipee, NH in Strafford and Carroll Counties.

The New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad is a short-line freight railroad that provides service through Rochester, Ossipee and the southeastern and central regions of New Hampshire.  The Northcoast line connects to the national freight rail network via Boston and is a vital link for an economically-distressed area of our state.  Industrial sector companies depend on services from this railroad, but are impacted by low weight limits that necessitate additional shipments and deter some suppliers from using the line.  

NHDOT is applying for support to repair this section of rail to allow car shipments of up to 286,000 pounds, the North American standard, to travel the full length of this corridor.  These repairs will complete a multi-year effort to modernize the rail line undertaken in partnership with the local community and the private sector.  The upgrades to the track will improve safety and reliability while enabling increased speeds for trains traveling through the corridor.  The higher weight limit will enable existing customers to more efficiently access markets and help spur economic growth in the region.

We support NHDOT’s competitive grant application for the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad Project and urge your serious consideration of this proposal.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

                                                                  Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen                                                              Kelly A. Ayotte
United States Senator                                                    United States Senator

Carol Shea-Porter                                                           Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress                                                       Member of Congress

Shea-Porter Challenges Guinta, Innis to Reverse Their Support For Social Security Cuts

On 79th Anniversary, She Commits to Strengthen and Protect Benefits

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter  (image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter
(image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

ROCHESTER, NH—Today, on Social Security’s 79th anniversary, Carol Shea-Porter’s campaign reaffirmed her commitment to protect and strengthen Social Security, and challenged Republican candidates Frank Guinta and Dan Innis to reverse their support for cuts to senior benefits.

“Carol understands that generations of New Hampshire seniors have earned Social Security through a lifetime of work—that’s why she’s fighting to protect benefits for current and future recipients,” Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly said. “Her dedication to seniors stands in stark contrast to what Frank Guinta and Dan Innis have said.”

Former Congressman Frank Guinta helped write the infamous Republican budget, and supports privatizing Social Security and gambling away seniors’ benefits in the stock market. In fact, Guinta is so committed to dismantling Social Security that in May 2010 he said he hoped his kids would never know what Social Security is.

At one of Shea-Porter’s open town halls last year, Republican candidate Dan Innis showed his intention to reduce benefits when he stood up and asked Shea-Porter how she would reform “entitlements,” which are actually benefits earned by a lifetime of hard work.

“Frank Guinta and Dan Innis should take Social Security’s anniversary as an opportunity to reverse their support for policies that gamble away seniors’ retirement security,” Connolly said. “Granite State seniors deserve to know whether Guinta and Innis still support extreme cuts that would threaten our seniors’ earned benefits.”

VIDEO: Shea-Porter Introduces Training of Employees for American Manufacturing (Rewarding the TEAM) Act of 2014

H.R. 5234, the Rewarding the TEAM Act, would offer tax credit for skills training

WASHINGTON, DC –Congresswoman Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced her introduction of H.R. 5234, the Rewarding the Training of Employees for American Manufacturing (Rewarding the TEAM) Act of 2014, at a press conference highlighting the Make It In America jobs agenda. Her bill would offer a tax credit to American manufacturers who provide on-the-job training opportunities for their employees.

“I put myself through college by working on a factory floor. I know how important American manufacturing is to our national and local economies,” Shea-Porter said. “On-the-job training is key to developing, maintaining, and advancing manufacturing skills. By offering a tax incentive to employers, we can make it more attractive for them to train workers with the skills they need for a career at the cutting edge of manufacturing.”

Qualifying expenses for American manufacturers claiming the Rewarding the TEAM credit would include manufacturing training program course work, certification testing, and essential skill acquisition.

Shea-Porter is a founding member of the Make It In America working group, which consists of Members of Congress working to support American manufacturing and encouraging companies to create good jobs in the U.S. She has been active in developing the Make It In America agenda, a comprehensive jobs plan aimed at revitalizing our manufacturing sector and helping create high-skill, high-wage jobs that won’t be outsourced. Last year she introduced the Buy America Accountability Act of 2013, legislation that would support U.S. manufacturing by ensuring government compliance with the Buy American Act of 1933.

The Congresswoman plans to highlight the importance of New Hampshire manufacturing jobs by visiting local businesses throughout the month of August, beginning this Friday in Londonderry.

House Passes Short Term Fix of Highway Trust Fund

Kuster, Shea-Porter Call for Long-Term Investment in New Hampshire Roads and Bridges

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) voted in support of bipartisan legislation that will keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through May 2015, allowing New Hampshire cities and towns to continue repairing roads and bridges. H.R. 5021 passed the House by a vote of 367-55. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass and be signed into law by the President.

“I am pleased that this badly-needed fix will allow construction projects in New Hampshire to continue this summer,” said Shea-Porter, who has pushed for months to bring the fix to the floor. “Maintaining investments in our highways, roads, and bridges will support jobs, enhance safety, and boost the local economy.”

Without Congressional action, the Highway Trust Fund is projected to face a shortfall by next month, putting 700,000 American jobs at risk.

“While this bill will keep workers on the job for now, Congress must pass a full transportation reauthorization to allow long-term planning for essential major projects,” Shea-Porter added. “This year, 32% of New Hampshire bridges were rated deficient.  Our infrastructure needs upgrades to stay competitive in the 21st century, and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation needs resources to continue its excellent work for our state.”

“Federal transportation funding is vitally important for fixing our failing roads and bridges, protecting public safety, and supporting much-needed construction jobs for NH workers. That’s why I voted in favor of this bill, which provides a short-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s lack of funding. This will help ensure states can protect the crucial summer construction jobs our workers rely on,” said Kuster.

“However,” Kuster continued, “I am very disappointed that this bill kicks the can down the road until next May.  I introduced legislation that  would have saved jobs this summer and forced Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill before the end of this year.  I call on my colleagues in the House to come together this year to pass a six-year, long-term bill.  We shouldn’t wait until May to provide the certainty that our states and towns need to continue working to fix our roads and bridges and support Granite State jobs.”

Following the bill’s passage, NHDOT Commissioner Christopher Clement stated: “Keeping the Federal Highway Trust Fund solvent is critical to New Hampshire moving forward with important transportation improvement projects. This will allow the Federal Highway Administration to continue to reimburse the State of New Hampshire on schedule and allow millions of dollars in road and bridge projects currently being delayed to be addressed sooner. We appreciate and support efforts in Washington to make this possible, as well as the need to work towards a long-term transportation funding bill.”

Darren Benoit, of the New Hampshire Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, said: “Passage of the Highway Trust Fund patch will help maintain the current level of investment in our transportation network as we try to address our deteriorating infrastructure while sustaining the construction sector, a vital part of our state’s economy.”

Congresswoman Shea-Porter Tours The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Meets with Navy leaders and workers to discuss improvements to the Shipyard, challenges of sequestration, and how the National Defense Authorization Act protects PNSY from base closure

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) tours the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s new learning centers

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) tours the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s new learning centers

PORTSMOUTH, NH – As part of her commitment to national defense and good local jobs,yesterday Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) to discuss challenges facing the Yard, improvements made to the Shipyard’s facilities, and how the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act protects PNSY from base closure. Shea-Porter was joined on the tour by Captain William Greene, Commander of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Paul O’Connor, President of the Metal Trades Council, and other shipyard management and labor leaders.

“The hard work done by the men and women of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is vital to our national defense and our local economy,” Shea-Porter said. “I’m proud to represent New Hampshire on the House Armed Services Committee, and I will continue to work to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”

Along the tour, Shea-Porter visited new learning centers with mockups that help workers learn and practice their skills before transitioning to work on nuclear submarines. The learning centers and other initiatives save the Yard over $5 million per year and help make PNSY more efficient. Leaders also spoke about the challenges associated with sequestration and the inclusive, value-based approach they have adopted to increase workforce efficiency and engagement in the face of furloughs and pay freezes.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter has worked to protect New Hampshire’s economy and PNSY workers from the reckless budget cuts of sequestration. She cosponsored legislation that would cancel sequestration, she held meetings with Shipyard leaders, and she spoke directly with the Secretary of Defense about furloughs at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. For more information on Shea-Porter’s efforts to stop sequestration, click here.

This year, Shea-Porter also passed legislation through the House of Representatives that ensures the Department of Defense use its existing methodology to determine which workforce is the most cost-efficient for new work—rather than to rely on informal arrangements or arbitrary decisions—allowing it to reap the savings.  The Department of Defense supported this provision and Shipyard leaders and workers thanked Shea-Porter for her focus on this issue as it would give the Yard more flexibility.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of four public shipyards in the United States. In 2010, Shea-Porter secured more than $11.9 million in funding for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to add to and reconstruct the Shipyard’s Structural Shops, which will help the Shipyard remain competitive and efficient.

UPDATED: NH’s Congressional Delegation Is Outraged Over The Hobby Lobby Decision (Well Most Of It Anyway)

In a very unsurprising decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  The case was to determine if Hobby Lobby could be forced to have an insurance plan that would cover contraceptives that the Green family – the evangelical owners and operators of Hobby Lobby – say they disagree with on religious grounds.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that because Hobby Lobby was a privately owned corporation that is run by a small group of people who have the same religious beliefs that forcing their insurance plans to cover certain types of birth control infringed on their closely held religious beliefs.

“Americans shouldn’t be forced to comply with government mandates that violate core principles of their faith,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte. “This case is fundamentally a matter of religious freedom, and this ruling affirms Americans’ religious liberties as protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

This ruling means that the religious rights of the employer are more important than the personal rights of the employees.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lashed out in an epic dissent:

“The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”  She continued by stating, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

This case is also chalk full of hypocrisy.

I guess “God’s will” only matters when it affects a woman’s right to choose, and not when it affects a man’s inability to perform.

“The Supreme Court’s decision today is incredibly disappointing,” stated Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “The debate over birth control was seemingly settled decades ago, and most companies and institutions had been offering birth control coverage as part of a health care package without controversy. This decision will only make some women’s lives even more difficult, and leaves me wondering what’s next from this activist Supreme Court.”

“Women should be making decisions about their health care with their doctors, not their employers,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women and I’m very disappointed by the ruling. Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case is a step backwards for New Hampshire women and their families,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Not only will this decision limit access to health care coverage for Granite State women, it will allow some employers to dictate a woman’s health care choices – something that can and should only be decided by each individual woman for herself. We must ensure that all women have access to comprehensive health coverage, and that they have the freedom to make choices about their own individual health care needs.”

The Affordable Care Act pushed insurance companies to fully cover preventative care for women – including contraception, when prescribed by a medical provider.  It also prohibits insurance companies from charging higher premiums for women than for men.  Before Obamacare, insurance companies could – and did – discriminate against women.  Charging women $1 billion more than men each year – and then giving them less coverage – was unfair and discriminatory.

One of the birth control options that Hobby Lobby disagreed with is the Internal Uterine Device (IUD). An IUD prevents a woman’s egg from implanting on the uterine wall, which prevents pregnancy.  Hobby Lobby makes the claim that this is abortion, because “life begins at conception.” But conception does not occur until after the egg is implanted.  So if an IUD prevents implantation, it prevents conception – and that means it’s contraception, just like the pill and condoms.

An IUD is extremely effective and has very low risk for women who choose to use it, although it can be expensive.

“It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage,” wrote Justice Bader Ginsberg in her dissent.

“Access to family planning services is critical for the health and economic security of women and families, as contraception costs are one of the biggest health care expenses for women and their families,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “While today’s Supreme Court decision is disappointing, I’m optimistic that employers will continue providing coverage for family planning services because it’s the right thing to do for workers, it will help businesses attract high-quality employees, and it will strengthen the economic security of working families.”

This attack on women’s reproductive rights is nothing new.  Conservatives have been trying to limit a women’s right to choose since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v Wade over 50 years ago.  When Republicans took control of the New Hampshire House in 2011, a new firestorm of attacks on women’s right was initiated.

“In 2011, the Executive Council took the radical step of eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, blocking access to health services for thousands of Granite State women,” stated Executive Counselor Chris Pappas. “That was the wrong decision for New Hampshire families then just as the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is wrong now.  Access to contraception and basic family planning services is critical for women’s health and economic security.  As an employer and owner of a family-run business, I know first-hand that important health decisions must be left up to women and their physicians.” (Emphasis added)

It continues to show that this Supreme Court and their conservative majority are out of touch with real working families, and are basing their rulings on their ideological positions.

More and more, it seems that the majority of the Supreme Court better represents the interests of the Chamber of Commerce than it does the values and aspirations of working Americans. Workers’ rights should not depend on whether their employer—while buying and selling to everyone regardless of religion—wants to limit their reproductive rights based on privately held religious beliefs,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “That this decision, which disproportionately affects women, coincides with the Harris v. Quinn decision, which limits rights of home healthcare workers in Illinois—the vast majority of whom are women—is a throwback to another age. Working families, especially working women, have lost here.”

There is no doubt our national healthcare system was broken.  The Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, fixing some of the major wrongs.  An insurance company can no longer deny coverage if you get sick; they can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition; their profits are limited by the 80/20 rule; and many more.

In my opinion the problem is that we are still relying on private insurance companies for health care.  For-profit institutions are making decisions about what our healthcare should be.  The problem is only compounded by our reliance on employer-supplied healthcare.

In Justice Alito’s decision, he implied that if the government truly wants to find a way to cover all of these contraceptives then the government is going to have to find a way to pay for it themselves.

To me, the solution is simple: Medicare for all.  If everyone were on Medicare, or any other version of a single payer system, the opinions of an employer would be moot.  An employer would never be able to restrict coverage for its women employees (or its men employees, for that matter).

Arnie Arnesen, a local radio personality summed it all up perfectly, “If Medicare is good enough for a 65 year old man, then why is it not good enough for a 6 year old girl?”

Rochester Fire Department to Receive $175,500 Assistance to Firefighters Grant

Shea-Porter’s Letter Helped Rochester Secure the Funding

ROCHESTER, NH – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) is pleased to announce that the Rochester Fire Department has been selected as the recipient of a $175,500 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). The grant will help the fire department purchase updated breathing apparatuses, such as spare bottles, communication devices, and equipment to outfit their Rapid Intervention Team.

“We must provide first responders with the equipment they need to safely serve in the line of duty,” Shea-Porter said. “I was proud to support this grant that will help the Rochester Fire Department keep our communities and first responders safe.”

Since 2001, Assistance to Firefighter Grants have helped firefighters and first responders purchase critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

Shea-Porter frequently assists cities and towns in their applications for federal grants by writing letters of support, and she did so in this case. In January, she wrote to FEMA, “As a resident of Rochester, I can attest to the hard work of the full-time and on-call firefighters that serve our community of 30,000 residents. Our two fire stations serve a 45-square-mile area, and the new equipment would provide numerous benefits, ranging from operational effectiveness to firefighter protection.”

Shea-Porter Urges Veterans Conference Committee to Keep Language Very Similar to Her Veterans Health Equity Act

WASHINGTON, DC – As members of the House and Senate form a Conference Committee to complete debate on legislation that will increase accountability at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and hire more doctors and nurses to provide timely, quality care for veterans, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)sent a letter today to the Conference Committee urging them to retain language included by the Senate, which is very similar to her Veterans Health Equity Act.

“Like my bill, the Senate-passed Veteran Access to Care Act includes a provision to ensure that veterans who live in a state without a full-service VA medical facility, such as New Hampshire, and who live more than 20 miles from a full-service VA medical facility, may access care from a private healthcare provider,” Shea-Porter said. “I respectfully request that you retain the language in Section 301 of H.R. 3230 as passed by the Senate, which is very similar to my bill, the Veterans Health Equity Act. This provision will solve some of the problems that rural veterans, many of whom live in New Hampshire, face when traveling long distances to receive medical care. The long ride to a VA medical facility has been a huge and unfair burden to our oldest and sickest veterans, and we have a chance to lift that burden now as part of the new VA legislation.”

Section 301 of the Veteran Access to Care Act would “expand availability of hospital care and medical services for veterans through the use of contracts.” Shea-Porter’s legislation would ensure that “every state has a full-service veterans hospital or that similar services are made available through contracts with hospitals in the state.”

Shea-Porter originally introduced the Veterans Health Equity Act in 2008. Since then, every member of New Hampshire’s delegation has cosponsored or reintroduced the bill.

Senators Shaheen and Ayotte worked to include the provision in the Senate VA bill. The Republican House Majority brought up the House VA bill under a closed rule, meaning language could not be changed.

Shea-Porter has been a leader in the effort to address issues within the Department of Veterans affairs. She supported the Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014. She cosponsored the  Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act. And she was one of the first House Democrats to call for new leadership at the VA.

Full text of the letter is below.

+++

June 23, 2014

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
Chairman, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Russell Senate Building, Room 412
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Richard Burr
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

The Honorable Jeff Miller
Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
335 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mike Michaud
Ranking Member, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
333 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

I respectfully request that you retain the language in Section 301 of H.R. 3230 as passed by the Senate, which is very similar to my bill, the Veterans Health Equity Act. This provision will solve some of the problems that rural veterans, many of whom live in New Hampshire, face when traveling long distances to receive medical care. The long ride to a VA medical facility has been a huge and unfair burden to our oldest and sickest veterans, and we have a chance to lift that burden now as part of the new VA legislation.

All too often, veterans from my state must travel to Vermont or Massachusetts because New Hampshire no longer has a full-service VA medical facility. New Hampshire is currently one of the few states in the nation that does not have a full-service veterans hospital or equivalent access to comparable care. That is why I introduced the Veterans Health Equity Act in 2008, and have reintroduced it in my ensuing term. My bill would increase veterans’ access to VA or equivalent health care in New Hampshire. This is a matter of fairness. Since I originally introduced this bill, access to in-state medical care for New Hampshire’s veterans has improved, but not enough.

Like my bill, the Senate-passed Veteran Access to Care Act includes a provision to ensure that veterans who live in a state without a full-service VA medical facility, such as New Hampshire, and who live more than 20 miles from a full-service VA medical facility, may access care from a private healthcare provider.

Thanking veterans for their service means honoring our commitments to them, and that includes a commitment to timely, accessible, and convenient medical care. By retaining this provision, Congress can ensure that veterans living in rural areas far from a VA medical facility can access care in a way that does not cause hardship, and ensure that our veterans are treated as they deserve. I respectfully ask that this important provision be retained in Conference.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

 

Frank Guinta Must Denounce Rick Perry’s Offensive Remarks

Guinta and Perry Recently Dined Together in Texas

Shea-Porter Campaign: Perry’s offensive remarks have no place in New Hampshire

Rick Perry by Gage SkidmoreMANCHESTER, NH – Three weeks ago, Frank Guinta dined with Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Governor’s Austin mansion. This week, Perry doubled down on his outrageous comparison of homosexuality to alcoholism, and Mr. Guinta stood silently as Rick Perry insulted our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community.

“Frank Guinta’s friend Rick Perry compared homosexuality to alcoholism and Frank Guinta thinks that’s okay?” Patrick Carroll, Campaign Manager for Carol Shea-Porter asked. “If Mr. Guinta believes in equality, he must condemn Rick Perry’s disgusting remarks and call for an apology immediately. New Hampshire families would not tolerate this offensive comparison in their living room, and Frank Guinta should stand up for all of the people of our state.”

When asked whether he thought homosexuality was a disorder, Perry recently said, “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that – and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.” When asked to clarify his comments, CNN reported, “Perry sticks by alcoholism and homosexuality comparison.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie already denounced the remark.

As a member of Congress, Guinta received the worst score possible from the Human Rights Campaign.

Shea-Porter helped end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She is an original cosponsor of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), and she signed the historic amicus brief regarding the unconstitutionality of DOMA.

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