Hassan: Standing up for fiscal responsibility and NH’s innovative businesses

Why we must put partisanship aside and find common ground on priorities that move us forward

Our country is going through a major economic transformation at an unprecedented pace. And while the digital economy requires us to take on some new challenges — like job training to prepare workers for 21st century jobs and the expansion of rural broadband — we can’t forget the fundamentals that are critical to business.

We have to invest in the future workforce and infrastructure to be sure, but we also have to fight for fiscal responsibility and sound economic policies too. I’m grateful that I will have new opportunities to do that in the 116th Congress.

At the start of this Congress, I joined the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters relating to taxation, trade and tariffs, as well as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. As a member of the Finance Committee, I will serve as the lead Democrat on the subcommittee dedicated to fiscal responsibility and economic growth.

I also took on a new role on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, serving as the lead Democrat on the subcommittee focused on federal spending oversight.

As governor, I worked with members of both parties to enact two fiscally responsible, balanced budgets that protected critical economic priorities while holding the line against a sales or an income tax. I will bring that experience to these new positions, focusing on bipartisan efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and to help eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.

One of the first pieces of legislation I introduced as a member of the Finance Committee is a bipartisan bill to relieve businesses and consumers of the burden caused by the Trump administration’s sweeping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada and the European Union.

These tariffs were implemented by the administration on national security grounds, as if Canada and the EU were threats to our national security. Canada and the EU are instead some of our closest allies, and President Trump’s national-security justification for steel and aluminum tariffs is undermining our global interests and hurting businesses and consumers in New Hampshire and across the country.

One of those businesses is Extreme Networks in Salem, which provides innovative new-age IT solutions for companies around the world. When I visited Extreme Networks recently, I heard about how the president’s tariffs are increasing their costs, potentially making them less competitive in the marketplace.

That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act with Republican Sens. Pat Toomey and Ben Sasse and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. It would require the president to secure approval from Congress before he takes trade actions using a national-security justification – restoring a necessary oversight role for Congress over these major economic decisions.

Another key issue I’m focused on is protecting New Hampshire businesses from the Supreme Court’s backward ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. that will require New Hampshire businesses to collect sales tax for other states.

Last Congress, I joined Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and other colleagues from no-sales-tax states in introducing legislation that would effectively overturn the recent Supreme Court’s flawed ruling. As a member of the Finance Committee, I’ll keep working to advance this legislation, and to explore all available options to protect New Hampshire businesses from mountains of new red tape as a result of this decision.

These are just a few of the issues I’m focused on this Congress to support job-creating businesses. If there are other ways that my office can help support your efforts – either through legislation or providing help with a federal agency – please don’t hesitate to call my Manchester office at 603-622-2204.

No matter the issue, please know that I will always strive to follow the lead of New Hampshire’s businesses – putting partisanship aside and finding common ground on priorities that move us forward.

I am pleased to have these new opportunities to fight for New Hampshire in the years ahead, and I look forward to continue working together to build an even stronger economic future for our state.

Maggie Hassan is New Hampshire’s junior U.S. senator.


Categories: Opinion