NH Week in Review for Jan. 29: Delegation responds to Trump initiatives

Jan 29, 2017

President Donald Trump’s first full week in office produced a flurry of executive orders, on top of pending appointments to his cabinet, that kept New Hampshire’s congressional delegation busy with responses, most of them critical.

That the delegation may not agree with the president on certain issues is no surprise, given the delegation's make up of all Democrats and the fact that Trump is a Republican president with a Republican-controlled U.S. House and Senate.

An executive order signed by Trump involving a hiring freeze prompted concerns about work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and care at Veterans Administration hospitals. See a Seacoast Online story here. Another Trump order raised concerns about women’s reproductive rights.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, announced she would vote against Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos as his education secretary. See a Concord Monitor story here. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, explained why she voted against Rex Tillerson as Trump’s pick for secretary of state.

The state’s Republican governor, Christopher Sununu, countered with expressions of support for the DeVos nomination. See a Union Leader story here.

The state’s two U.S. senators did vote to confirm Mike Pompeo to head the CIA and Nikki Haley as United States ambassador to the United Nations.

One executive order reinstated the so-called Global Gag Rule, which requires that any overseas organization receiving U.S. aid not have anything to do with abortion. It was first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and rescinded by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-1st Congressional District, said in a statement that “we need to stay on guard and resist those in Washington whose top priority is to turn back the clock on women’s health.”

Meanwhile, many Granite Staters participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., calling for stricter abortion laws. See an NH1 News story here.

In response to efforts to repeal Obamacare, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-2nd CD, pointed to the state’s ongoing opioid crisis and said in a statement that “efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, especially without a replacement plan, recklessly endangers the health care coverage for nearly 120,000 Granite Staters and will come at a high cost for people struggling with substance use disorders.”

Kuster, Hassan, and Shaheen participated in a forum in Nashua on Thursday where concerns were raised about how repeal of the Affordable Care Act would affect Granite Staters. See a Union Leader story here.

Elsewhere

The director of the state’s Division of Children, Youth and Families is retiring amid discussion about how to respond to a report critical of the agency. Lorraine Bartlett, who had worked for the agency for 28 years, said she should have done more to warn lawmakers about DCYF’s needs before the situation became critical. The report found the agency is too underfunded and too short staffed to deal with the large scale problem in the state of children at risk in large part because of the state’s ongoing opioid abuse epidemic. See an NHPR story here.

Lawmakers are considering whether to expand the ailments allowed for treatment under the state’s medical marijuana law. Chronic pain, opioid addiction, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress syndrome and myelitis (infection of the spinal cord) were discussed this week as being added to the list of qualifying conditions. See a Union Leader story here.

The new state prison for women is already late in opening because of construction cost overruns. Now the corrections commissioner is pointing to another problem that affects the opening - lack of staff. "Our recruiting efforts to date have led us to believe that opening the women's prison in the fall when it will be completed will be problematic,” commissioner Bill Wrenn said to the House Finance Committee this week. See an NHPR story here.

A Senate committee this week considered a bill that would make dairy farmers in the state eligible for up to $2 million in relief. A task force had recommended aid to dairy farms in light of the drought and high dairy prices that are affecting their ability to continue to operate in the state. See a Concord Monitor story here.

The sponsors of a bill that would require victims of sexual assault to corroborate their testimony are backing away from the proposal after backlash from victims' rights advocates and police. In a letter, Republican Reps. Jess Edwards and William Marsh say they will understand if members of the criminal justice committee recommend killing the bill. See a Foster’s Daily Democrat story here.

Marijuana legalization, absentee ballots, and a needle exchange program are among the topics we were talking about this week on our Facebook page. You can hop on over and join in here.
 

 

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