N.H. lawmakers show willingness to depend on federal aid: Allen Cook says

New Hampshire lawmakers’ decision of inclusion of an amendment in a severability clause for work requirements in House Bill 1696 has thrown the state at the altar of the federal government, Republican Rep. Allen Cook said.

On March 9th, N.H. House Speaker Shawn Jasper broke a 181-181 tie in favor of including the controversial clause for work requirements in HB 1696. Later, the Senate also approved the bill.

The bill states that unemployed adults shall be eligible to receive benefits only if they engage in at least thirty hours of employment, job searching, job training or other work-related activities. An amendment ensures the Medicaid expansion program will not die even if the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) declares the bill’s work requirements invalid.

Rep. Cook, a pastor at Grace Ministries International in Brentwood, argued that the decision reflected both the Republican and Democratic lawmakers’ willingness to depend on federal government’s assistance.

Criticizing the decision, Cook said, “Our decision says, ‘Let’s throw ourselves at the altar of the federal government and worship at their feet for $400 million.”

According to HB 1696’s fiscal note, Medicaid expansion program will cost N.H. up to $25 million and the federal government will have to form out $434 million in 2018.

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