To the editor:
With all the serial animosity roiling Washington, D.C., these last couple of years, New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District’s community can thank its lucky stars to have a bipartisan, reach-across-the-aisle professional like Annie Kuster as our representative in our battle-torn nation’s capital.
Our four-term congresswoman has made it one of the linchpins of her political career to look at both sides of the plethora of legislative issues that she and the rest of the House of Representatives haggle over every day. And over the past six-plus years she has joined with Democrats and Republicans to pass an impressive amount of pro-New Hampshire and pro-America bills.
Kuster, as a known entity in the Granite State, didn’t actually ride the anti-Donald Trump “blue wave” in defeating GOP challenger Steve Negron last November, as so many other Democrats did nationally. On the contrary, she was elected having already served three House terms with a list of tangible accomplishments.
These include her many pro-veterans legislative triumphs (probably her primary passion), such as the VA Mission Act, due to take effect June 6, giving another health care choice to the 30% of veterans not on Medicare or Medicaid. Veterans who sign up for this new program should expect wait times to see doctors shortened considerably, among other improvements.
Kuster, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, negotiated a bipartisan $2 trillion agreement dedicated to much-needed improvements to the nation’s bridges, roads, water treatment plants, etc. Our ongoing Interstate 93 project received a huge boost with her prior successful negotiations for a $200 million low-interest loan (the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) that continues funding the work that many of us see on our travels every day.
While the White House has been spending time savaging the Affordable Care Act and has done nothing to regulate the spiraling costs of prescription drugs, Kuster has used her position on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health to tear through the opposition and legislate lowering Medicare Part D costs as well as making generic versions more available.
At a May 15 hearing she warned “the prices that Granite Staters are paying for prescription drugs are simply unacceptable and frankly unsustainable” — an ominously true statement that pertains mostly to our elderly Medicare and Medicaid recipients but also affects many of our younger citizenry.
Direct negotiations with pharmaceutical companies would be a welcome start, a policy originally pushed by the Obama administration but that has found little cachet with President Trump in the Oval Office, despite its obvious benefits. Despite Trump’s negative backlash against all things Affordable Care Act, Kuster’s concurrent Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act cleared the Energy and Commerce Committee in March and passed the entire House on May 9. There’ll be more to follow on this important bill.
Annie Kuster is one of America’s hardest working congressional leaders. This shout-out in a non-election year is to simply thank her for all the betterments she has brought in a remarkable career that is hopefully a long way from conclusion.
William F. Klessens