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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses Newly-Activated Hawaiʻi Army Reserve Detachment; Kicks off 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta

Today on Oʻahu, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks at the 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) Activation Ceremony at Schofield Barracks and honored the unit’s new commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Gavin Tsuda, a native of Honolulu. The 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD is the only division level MCP-OD in the Army Reserve, and joins nine National Guard MCP-ODs across the country being assigned to active duty divisions in order to provide headquarters elements with the additional manpower for areas such as intelligence, operations and logistics.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard addresses the newly-activated 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “I’m grateful to have served Hawaiʻi and our country alongside LTC Tsuda, who personifies what it means to be a citizen soldier. As a soldier, he is known for his attention to detail, taking care of soldiers, upholding the highest standards, and mentoring junior soldiers to help them grow and better fulfill their own duties and assignments. As a civilian, he is committed to his community, and has dedicated much of his career to developing affordable housing for underserved communities in Hawaiʻi—a tremendous need in our state. As LTC Tsuda blazes a new trail as the first commander of the 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD, he will continue to set the bar high for this unit and its soldiers.”

Later in the day, the congresswoman kicked off the annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta at its opening reception and honored the 2017 recipients of the Daniel K. Inouye Leadership and Community Service Award—Assistant Race Director Natasha Haine and the late U.S. Congressman Mark Takai. The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call to serve, dedicating themselves to honoring and supporting our wounded warriors, their loved ones, and our Gold Star families. Past recipients of the award include Judge Edward Kubo, Marc Haine, Gervin Miyamoto, Darryl Wong, Penny Kalua, Liz Sabog, and Race Director Matthew McCarville.

“Each year, this event harnesses the healing power of the ocean and our supportive community as our veterans and their families continue to recover from the wounds of war both visible and invisible. As we gather here tonight, the search continues for five of our own who are still missing off our shores—a heart aching reminder of the risks our servicemembers take every single day, whether in training or in combat, as they put their lives on the line for the security of our nation. Our hearts are with them, their families, and our first responders,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The congresswoman will join wounded warriors, Gold Star families, and Hawaiʻi’s veteran community in paddling in the 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta off the shores of Fort DeRussy this Saturday.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Hawaiʻi Purple Heart Recipients at Official Medal Presentation Ceremony

At the Oʻahu Veterans Center today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Rainbow Chapter 483 (Honolulu) in honoring twelve recipients of the Purple Heart Medal at an official presentation ceremony.

The recipients, who included veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, were awarded the Purple Heart Medal by the Army for their wounds in combat, but never received a formal presentation of their medals, as is required by Army regulations. The congresswoman presented each honoree with the Purple Heart Medal and delivered remarks about the significance of the official presentation ceremony, the high cost of war and the critical importance of caring for our veterans when they return home from war.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Those making decisions about when and where to go to war often forget who pays the high price—our veterans who return home with wounds visible and invisible, our servicemembers on active duty, and their families. The veterans we recognized today have waited more than forty years for the recognition they have earned and deserve. Today’s ceremony closes the circle for these veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much.”

Addressing the recipients and their family members, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Today we honor you with a medal that none of you wanted or asked for, but that is earned by those who sacrifice most. You stand in the ranks of people like Hawaiʻi’s Senator Daniel Inouye, President John. F. Kennedy, and so many more. We honor you, as we do them, our nation’s most prominent and distinguished heroes.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Host Live Veterans Telephone Townhall with State, Federal Leaders

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live veterans-focused “telephone town hall” on Tuesday, July 25 at 4:00pm HST with Jennifer Gutowski, Director of the VA Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS); Karen Gooden, Director of the Honolulu Veterans Affairs Regional Office; and Ron Han, Director of the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Veterans’ Services (OVS). The call will provide an opportunity for Hawaiʻi’s veterans, their families, and our community to get updates on veterans legislation being considered by Congress, receive an overview of resources for Hawaiʻi veterans, and ask state and federal leaders about veterans’ healthcare, benefits, services, and more.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, veterans living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework with the VA should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at 808-541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to register for this event:

  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Tuesday July 25
  • To receive a call reminding you to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR  Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Members of Congress Sue Trump Administration for Violation of Foreign Emoluments Clause

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, announced today their lawsuit against President Trump to enforce the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution dealing with gifts or benefits the President, or other Administration officials, might receive from foreign governments and businesses. The lawsuit would give Congress the authority to vote on, and approve, any foreign emoluments on a case-by-case basis.


“The American people deserve a president who is a servant leader who they can trust to represent the people’s interests, rather than his or her own. Those who voted for President Trump took him at his word – that having accumulated enough of his own personal wealth, he would be solely focused on serving the American people.

“It is paramount that President Trump divest himself from his properties, especially those abroad, so Americans can trust that this Administration’s foreign policy decisions are not being influenced by the President’s investments. We need to be assured, for example, that U.S.-Saudi policy is not being influenced by a Trump resort or other investments in that country, rather it is crafted to serve the best interests of the American people.

“If President Trump does the right thing by seeking and receiving appropriate congressional approval, stops accepting financial benefits from foreign government officials, and divests himself from his properties, I will withdraw my support from this lawsuit. The people of this country deserve transparency and confidence that the President is acting on their behalf,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management to Host Telephone Town Hall on Hurricane Preparedness

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a telephone town hall on Monday, June 26 at 4:00pm HST on hurricane and disaster preparedness. The congresswoman will be joined by Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi, Anna Foust of Maui Emergency Management Agency, Elton Ushio of Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency, Talmadge Magno of Hawaiʻi Island Civil Defense Agency, and Melvin Kaku of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management to answer questions from the community, discuss the forecast for the upcoming hurricane season, and review new recommendations that Hawaiʻi residents prepare an “emergency kit” with a minimum of 14 days of food, water and other supplies. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30.

“We are so fortunate to live in Hawaiʻi, but we have some seasonal disasters that are unique to our islands, and it’s important to be prepared. With hurricane season kicking off this month and running through November, I’m hosting a telephone town hall meeting with emergency management leaders in each of our counties to talk about how Hawaiʻi families can prepare and stay safe,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

How to register for this event:

To receive a call reminding you to join this event on Monday June 26, 2017 at 4:00pm:

  • Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR
  • Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration
  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Monday June 26.

HURRICANE CHECKLIST:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Encourages Economic Opportunity for Hawai‘i Businesses at Annual “Hawai‘i on the Hill”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke at the Hawai‘i on the Hill Policy Summit, where she thanked Hawai‘i business leaders and stakeholders for coming to Washington, D.C. and engaging with leaders to increase economic opportunity for Hawaii.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard later visited the Fourth Annual Taste of Hawai‘i reception on Capitol Hill which featured over 70 members of Hawaii’s local business community, ranging from food and beverage companies to representatives from energy, tourism, and farming industries.

“I was honored to welcome business, community, and state leaders from Hawai‘i to Washington during this annual visit, where they showcased the great economic opportunities and achievements of our state.  They brought the aloha spirit with them, and lots of lei, making great connections and leaving a strong impression on policymakers and leaders in Washington.  I look forward to continuing to work with these great partners towards policies and opportunities that will strengthen our Hawai‘i economy,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background:

Wednesday’s policy summit ushered in the third and final day of Hawai‘i on the Hill, an event organized by the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Senator Mazie Hirono to highlight Hawaii’s contributions to the country.

Beginning with the King Kamehameha I Lei Draping Ceremony on Sunday and ending with the Taste of Hawai‘i today, Hawai‘i stakeholders, business owners, and friends of our Aloha state gathered to celebrate what makes Hawai‘i unique and special. 2017 marked the fourth consecutive year that the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce has partnered with local and national organizations to introduce representatives from Hawaii’s public and private sectors to federal policymakers.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Join Max Holloway Homecoming Parade

This weekend, in between congressional voting weeks in Washington, DC, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is flying home today to join the state and community of Waiʻanae in a homecoming parade recognizing and celebrating UFC Champions Max Holloway & Yancy Medeiros for their undisputed victories at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Holloway will be making an appearance at The District Nightclub later that evening.

The congresswoman will participate in the community parade that will begin in Nānākuli and end at Waiʻanae High School on Saturday, and present Holloway and Medeiros with congressional certificates recognizing them for their achievements.

The congresswoman will then depart for Washington, DC Saturday night and join the Hawaiʻi State Society of Washington, DC and local and state leaders at the annual King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony held in the U.S. Capitol.

DETAILS

Saturday June 10

  • 10:00 am Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will participate in the Waiʻanae Coast Homecoming Parade to recognize and celebrate UFC 212 Champions Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros, and honor the athletes with congressional certificates in recognition of their achievements and proud representation of Hawaiʻi to the world
  • WHERE: Parade kicks off at 87-2020 Farrington Hwy (PVT) and ends at Waiʻanae High School at 85-251 Farrington Hwy.

Sunday June 11:

  • 2:30 PM (EST) Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will deliver remarks at the 2017 King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony
  • WHERE: U.S. Capitol Building, Visitor Center, Emancipation Hall, Washington, DC

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Denounces Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement:

“President Trump’s decision today to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, making us just one of three countries in the world not to participate, is short-sighted and irresponsible. Without global action to drastically curb carbon pollution, climate change threatens the safety and security of the planet, especially in places like Hawaiʻi where we are already experiencing its’ devastating effects. The 2015 hurricane season set a record of 15 tropical storms in Hawaiʻi, acidification of our oceans has killed marine ecosystems and fisheries, bleached coral reefs, while causing damage to local economies. As recently as April of this year, the Honolulu Harbor tide gauge peaked at more than nine inches above predicted tides – the highest daily mean water level ever recorded over 112-years.

“The United States should be leading by example, leveraging innovation through science and technology, investing in clean energy, creating renewable energy jobs that cannot be outsourced, growing the economy, enhancing U.S. energy independence, and lowering energy costs for families and businesses, while reducing carbon emissions.  We must continue to persevere and do our part to support efforts in the private sector and at all levels of government to combat climate change and protect our environment.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is an original co-sponsor of H.Res.540, which supports unprecedented national priorities for combatting climate change, including goals for 50% of electricity derived from renewable sources by 2030, as well as the transition to 50% near-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean renewable energy by 2050.

Rep. Gabbard and Senator Sanders Introduce “Raise the Wage Act”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI-02) stood with Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate to introduce the Raise the Wage Act today.

The legislation would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and index the minimum wage to the median wage growth thereafter. It has been 10 years since legislation was enacted increasing the federal minimum wage. When adjusted for inflation, about 40 percent of today’s workers earn less than the minimum wage in 1968. The Raise the Wage Act would give more than 41 million low-wage workers a raise, increasing the wages of almost 30 percent of the U.S. workforce.

“In my home state of Hawaiʻi, and across the country, far too many people are working one or two full-time minimum wage jobs, living in poverty, and barely scraping by. The federal minimum wage has fallen far behind inflation and has actually lost value over time, meaning working families are making less while paying more just to make ends meet. The federal minimum wage has stagnated for the last 10 years—it is long overdue for Congress to do the right thing for hard-working Americans and raise the minimum wage,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has supported legislation to raise the federal minimum wage throughout her time in Congress, and is an original cosponsor of the legislation introduced today to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She has also cosponsored legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R.1869) to address wage discrimination across the United States.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Trump’s Massive Budget Cuts Threaten Hawaii, American People

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today warned that the Trump Administration’s 2018 Budget Blueprint puts the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our country at risk with massive cuts to government programs that spur economic growth and provide critical services. The budget slashes $1.4 trillion from programs families in Hawaiʻi and across the country depend on, including:

  • $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid that serves over 348,000 people in Hawaiʻi
  • $191 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that serves over 170,000 people in Hawaiʻi
  • $72 billion in cuts to the Social Security’s disability program, which serves over 19,000 people in Hawaiʻi
  • $143 billion from federal student loans, including the elimination of federally subsidized loans and loan forgiveness programs that serve Hawaiʻi nurses, police officers, and teachers
  • $40.4 billion in cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which assist one in eight Hawaiʻi keiki living in poverty

Click to read

In a speech on the House floor today, the congresswoman said, “The president’s budget proposal put forward today will be damaging to the people in our communities and the places that we call home. It cuts Medicaid by over $600 billion, cuts the food stamp program by over 25%, affecting the most needy within our communities. It slashes infrastructure programs, eliminates TIGER grants, cuts student loan and financial aid programs, and includes catastrophic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. In my home state of Hawai’i, this budget zeros out federal funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant, the Native Hawaiian Loan Guarantee Program, and cuts Native Hawaiian Education programs by $33 million dollars, crippling the progress that’s been made for over 30 years to strengthen Native Hawaiian early education, literacy, gifted and talented education programs, higher education, vocational programs and more. I strongly oppose this budget, and look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to pass a budget that actually serves the people and our planet.”

Reps. Gabbard, Perry Introduce Bill to Permanently End Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Emails

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Scott Perry (R-PA), both founding members of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, introduced legislation today to permanently codify protections on Americans’ privacy.

Last month, the NSA announced it is ending its collection of Americans’ Internet communications that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as “about” surveillance. The legislation introduced today would permanently codify this policy change into law. Gabbard and Perry, both veterans of the Iraq War, also co-chair the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “For years, the NSA has been collecting phone and online communications from everyday Americans across the country, defying the rights and liberties granted to us under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The 2008 FISA Amendments, specifically Section 702, has led to massive government-led exploitation of personal privacy through the collection of American citizens’ emails. We need serious reforms that balance the protection of our civil liberties and rights through our constitution, and also keep the American people safe. The NSA recently announced that they would stop collecting our emails and electronic communications under Section 702, but what is to say that it won’t start up again? Our legislation will keep our country from backtracking on this progress by permanently codifying this policy change and banning this privacy-invading collection from taking place again.”

Rep. Scott Perry said, “The NSA recently changed policy to prohibit the collection of electronic communications sent or received by American citizens that merely mention a foreign target of surveillance. This practice has long been used as an end-around the Fourth Amendment, and we commend the NSA for aligning their collection efforts with the Constitution. The legislation ensures that this important win for the American people cannot be reversed under future administrations. I thank Congresswoman Gabbard for her continued efforts on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill move quickly.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties and ensure a strong national defense. She has actively sought reforms to Section 702, the Patriot Act, introduced legislation to strengthen and expand the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and is a founding member of the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus focused on protecting the privacy and security of Americans in the digital age.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Condemns New U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today condemned the Trump Administration’s new $460 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—$110 billion immediately and $350 billion over the next 10 years—a country with a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people.  Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor and propagator of the extremist Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.  Based on Saudi Arabia’s history and track record, there is a significant likelihood these weapons will be used against innocent civilians or end up in the hands of terrorist groups.

“Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. The hypocrisy in the Trump administration’s actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef’s ‘excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.’ This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world today. This arms deal will enable Saudi Arabia to use U.S.-made weapons in their war crimes against Yemeni civilians in a brutal civil war, and continue perpetuating human rights atrocities at home and abroad,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced H.R. 608, the bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to armed militants who are allied with al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the U.S. government from funneling money and weapons through other countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.  Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also recently sent a letter to Secretary Mattis urging an end to the United States’ military participation in Yemen’s civil war, where 19 million people need emergency support and which has never been authorized by Congress, and calling for a Congressional briefing on the White House’s strategy in Yemen.

2017 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists – Rep. Gabbard Launches “People’s Choice” Contest on Facebook

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced thirteen finalists in her Fifth Annual Kaha Kiʻi Second Congressional District Art Competition and launched a “People’s Choice” contest on the Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Facebook Page where the public can select their favorite pieces. A gallery of the finalists’ artwork is now on display in the halls of the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Each spring, the congresswoman sponsors the event to recognize and encourage creativity across Hawai‘i as part of a nationwide high school art competition with other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I encourage everyone in the community to check out the art being showcased by these gifted students from across the state of Hawaiʻi—either see the pieces in person at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, or take a look on my Facebook page. You will be impressed and inspired by their talent and creativity,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  “Our annual Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition is a great opportunity to recognize the creative abilities of Hawaii’s young adults and encourages them to further pursue their artistic talents. Congratulations to this year’s finalists, and mahalo to the educators and family members who have supported these students as they embrace their passion.”

The overall winner of the district-wide competition will be announced on May 13th in a ceremony at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. The first-place piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside winners from all other congressional districts. The second-place and third-place pieces will be hung in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Washington, DC and Hawaiʻi offices (respectively) for one year. All winners will be awarded with a cash prize.

The entry with the most Likes, Loves, and Shares in the “People’s Choice” Contest on Facebook on Thursday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m. HST will be featured as the cover photo at the top of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s official Facebook page, and the artist will win a cash prize.

The 2017 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists are listed below, and their artwork is shown in the corresponding graphic from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Water Is Life – Standing Rock by Riley Herendeen, Grade 11, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • The Old Ways by Tori Wills, Grade 12, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Fozzie by Paxton Bender, Grade 12, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)
  • Wahine’Ume’Ume by Chais Pascua, Grade 12, Baldwin High (Maui)
  • Hula Skirts by Lacey Santos, Grade 12, Seabury Hall (Maui)
  • Stoked by Emma Sanchez, Grade 11, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Innocence by Sophia Kauffmann, Grade 11, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • Self Portrait by Lillian Pickering, Grade 12, Seabury Hall (Maui)
  • Surrounded by Ruby Ranoa, Grade 11, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Looking Into the Future Through the Past by Hunter Weigle, Grade 12, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • Girl in the Shadows by Sonja Angst, Grade 12, Molokaʻi High School
  • What’s Around by Daymien Rodrigues, Grade 9, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)
  • Submerged by Jackie Duliere, Grade 12, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)

Each spring, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sponsors the Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition as part of a nationwide high school arts competition. The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. For more information, click here.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Republican Healthcare Bill

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after voting against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill is opposed by the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the National Disability Rights Network, the AFL-CIO, the National Farmers Union, the National Education Association, among others. The bill passed the House by a vote of 217-213 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“The bill that passed today is not a healthcare bill—it’s a big handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. This bill slashes $880 billion from Medicaid, strips away health benefits like maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services, expands a crippling age tax on our seniors, eliminates healthcare tax credits for over 7 million veterans, and breaks the bank for those with pre-existing conditions. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, many low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. This partisan bill was rushed through, resulting in corporate benefits on the backs of the people.

“We need real healthcare reform that brings down costs, increases access to quality care, and ensures basic health services are available to all Americans. As a cosponsor of H.R.676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, I’m working towards a system that will provide universal healthcare to all Americans—a standard met by nearly every other industrialized nation.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke against the American Health Care Act on the House floor and urged Congress to vote no.

Video – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Republican Health Care Bill Keeps Getting Worse

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) urged the House to reject the Republican’s latest health care bill:

“I recently wrapped up a town hall tour across my district in Hawaiʻi, visiting every single island. A common theme that I heard from folks was one of concern and questions about this Republican health care bill that we may be voting on later this week. They’re worried about their aging parents not being able to pay for their premiums and prescriptions, and that newly added provisions that threaten those with pre-existing conditions with skyrocketing costs will have such a devastating impact.

“Every time we hear about the new versions and new changes to this bill, it gets worse than the one before. Among a host of new problems, the newest version strips away protections on healthcare benefits like maternity care, substance abuse, and mental health services, while also expanding an already crippling age tax against our seniors—against our kūpuna.

“No matter how you package it, this bill is a handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies while breaking the bank for those most in need of care. I urge my colleagues to stand in strong opposition to this bill and instead pass a health care bill that works for the American people.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Opposes Attack on Net Neutrality

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke out strongly against the FCC’s recent announcement of plans to unravel net neutrality:

“Yesterday, the new Trump-appointed FCC Chair announced his mission to undermine the net neutrality rules we fought so hard to put in place. In 2015, over 4 million people submitted comments, calling on the FCC to keep the internet open and fair.

“However, the FCC’s new Chairman, who used to work as counsel for Verizon, wants to turn the internet into a system of pay-to-play fast lanes for big money and those who can afford it, leaving everyone else behind in the slow lane.

“This hands the levers of access over to big ISPs at the expense of students, small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent content creators, and millions more.

“In today’s digital age, maintaining open and equal internet access is essential to breaking down barriers in education, media, expanding access to jobs and employment, driving innovation in healthcare, and so much more.

“We must stand strong in opposition to the FCC’s attack on fairness, equality, and net neutrality.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

PACOM Commander Confirms North Korea’s Threat to Hawaii

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi and detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current U.S. missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaiʻi at risk.

Admiral Harry Harris

Asked by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi specifically, Admiral Harris stated, “Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawai’i today…Our ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaiʻi today, but it can be overwhelmed. If Kim Jong-un or someone else launched ballistic missiles—ICBMs—against the United States, we would have to make the decision on which ones to take out or not.”

Following the hearing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:
“Hawaiʻi is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military strategic assets for well over 3,000 miles, making it a prime target for North Korea’s aggression. As I travelled across Hawai’i during my recent state-wide town hall tour, I heard from my constituents on every island their concern about the threat posed by North Korea’s increased nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities that place Hawaiʻi squarely within North Korea’s crosshairs. It is the people of Hawaiʻi and our way of life that are at risk if North Korea’s missiles turn towards our shores. Admiral Harris’ testimony today affirmed the seriousness of this threat, and highlighted the need to strengthen our current missile defense infrastructure to ensure the defense of Hawai’i. I’m continuing this urgent push to strengthen the protection of Hawaiʻi against the threat that exists today, and the complex threat we know will emerge in the future. I urge my colleagues to take this threat seriously and provide the resources and tools necessary to defend Hawaiʻi against this threat.”

Background: Missile defense has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. Last year, she passed two amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—one to provide funding to begin the process of bringing an MRDR to Hawaiʻi, and the other to require the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to brief Congress on their short-term plan to enhance missile defense capabilities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific—and also questioned then SECDEF Carter and Chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the need to increase Hawaiʻi’s missile defense. She has had ongoing conversations and meetings with the Missile Defense Agency Director, Vice Admiral James Syring, to discuss possible options for the defense of Hawaiʻi, to deal with short term and long term needs. This includes quickly deployable options that are available to further strengthen the existing defensive assets within the state.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses Kauaʻi Dairy, Labor Unions, Water Quality at Town Hall With 500+ Garden Isle Residents

More than 500 Kauaʻi residents packed into the Veterans Center in Līhue to hear from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) at her sixth Town Hall on a statewide tour.

The audience shared concern over the difficulty in accessing quality affordable healthcare, expressed strong support for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s work to reinstate Glass-Steagall and reform Wall Street, and favored her bill (H.R.1227) to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, removing the conflict between federal and state law for places like Hawaiʻi that have approved medical marijuana dispensaries.

Local concerns that took center stage during the Q&A included protecting water and reef quality, the high cost of inter-island travel, the Jones Act, and “Right to Work” legislation. Kauaʻi residents also asked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the threat of North Korea’s nuclear escalation and Trump’s recent illegal attack on Syria, and they thanked her for introducing the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608).

The final stop on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour is tonight on Maui. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

Tulsi’s Maui Town Hall:

Tonight, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Lānaʻi Town Hall, Addresses Local and National Issues

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted an intimate Town Hall on the Island of Lānaʻi this evening, where over one hundred residents turned out despite the pouring rain—something they welcomed after a very long period of dryness. Students from the Lānaʻi Academy of Performing Arts kicked off the meeting with a lively local rendition of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about her work in Congress and the bills she’s introduced and cosponsored that affect Hawaiʻi communities. The Lānaʻi residents were particularly interested in her work to improve access to services and health care in rural areas, high cost of housing, and increased opportunities for workforce vocational training. They stressed the importance of protecting our environment and preserving precious water resources.

Other local issues discussed included federal funding for highways and education, improving veteran services on the island, and supporting local farmers whose focus is farm-to-table and increasing food security.

A Lānaʻi resident from Syria thanked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for fighting for peace in her home country after the congresswoman spoke about the need to end the counterproductive regime change war in Syria. Other topics of interest included the threat of North Korea’s nuclear escalation, defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and Trump’s recent illegal attack on Syria.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on President’s Repeal of Clean Energy, Environment Protections

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order rolling back progress to fight climate change and promote clean energy nationwide:

“In light of President Trump’s Executive Order paving the path for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, and slashing funding for the EPA by nearly one-third, the consequence of today’s actions on our environment and precious water resources are especially concerning. Unless we make a concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions, invest in clean energy, create green jobs, and improve our air and water quality, we are moving backwards, at a time when our planet simply cannot afford for us to do so. In spite of this action today, I have no doubt that Hawaiʻi will continue to lead the nation in renewable energy production. We must continue investing in renewable energy, moving away from foreign oil and fossil fuels, and moving toward our goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.”