(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) announced that New Hampshire is set to receive approximately $17 million for COVID-19 testing in legislation that will soon be voted on in the House. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law.
“Testing is key to re-opening our economy and getting life back to some semblance of normal. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has not been able to make tests widely available which is why I fought for this funding to help New Hampshire’s testing efforts,” said Shaheen. “In particular, our frontline workers and vulnerable Granite Staters need to be able to access testing quickly which is why this funding can’t come soon enough.”
“To begin to reopen more parts of the economy and get Granite Staters back to work, we’ll need to massively expand COVID-19 testing, which is why it was so important that we successfully secured additional funding in the latest bipartisan COVID-19 response bill to address this need,” said Hassan. “This federal funding to New Hampshire will help our state address testing shortages, and crucially, the agreement also requires the Trump administration to put forward a plan to increase testing. While this funding is a big step forward, the administration still needs to take significant action to help ramp up testing production and distribution, and I will continue to push to ensure that our state can actually get the supplies that we need."
“Re-opening New Hampshire’s economy goes hand in hand with addressing the public health emergency posed by coronavirus,” said Kuster. “As we look towards recovery, it’s clear that we must be able to conduct widespread testing for COVID-19. This funding will help our state expand access to coronavirus testing so we can protect our frontline workers and prevent further spread of this virus within our communities. In order to safely re-open our country and reduce the risk of a resurgence of this virus, we need a comprehensive, coordinated nationwide testing strategy – I hope that the Administration will listen to our nation’s top doctors and scientists and work to protect the health and wellbeing of the American people. I’ll continue working to ensure New Hampshire has the support and resources it needs to respond to this public health crisis.”
“Our capacity to test for COVID-19 continues to be woefully inadequate, and we need a national strategy to allow us to ramp up testing and supplies in the fight against this pandemic,” said Pappas. “I share the frustration of many health care and public health experts, and know solving this problem is a matter of life and death. That is why this $17 million in funding, which the House will approve today, is so crucial to help our frontline health care workers make the necessary progress we need to beat this virus and get New Hampshire back on its feet and back to work.”
The New Hampshire Congressional Delegation has been adamant about the need for increased testing capabilities. In March, the delegation and the Governor urged the President to speed up the distribution of critical medical supplies, including swabs for diagnostic testing. Senators Shaheen and Hassan called on Vice President Pence and FEMA to conduct a national inventory of COVID-19 testing supplies, publicly release data on testing results and provide a detailed plan and timeline for addressing future shortages and gaps in the testing supply chain. Senator Shaheen recently called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prioritize COVID-19 testing kits for New Hampshire in reaction to the agency’s inadequate response to the state’s needs, which included sending 15 testing machines but only 120 testing kits for the entire state.
More information on the latest COVID-19 emergency response bill is available here.