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Senator Schatz Statement on Trump Administration Decision to End DACA

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz and the Late Hawaii Senator Gil Kahele assist in Pahoa after Tropical Storm Iselle hit.

“This is one of the most inhumane things this administration could do. It doesn’t matter where you stand on immigration. We should all be able to agree that people who came here as children, who have grown up as American as anyone else’s kids, should not be stripped away from the communities they’re a part of to go back to a country they don’t remember.

“People trusted the government when they chose to register as Dreamers. And now, this administration has betrayed their trust and will ruin their lives.”

Senator Schatz Elevated to Leadership Post

Senate Democratic leadership elevated U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to new roles in the caucus’s leadership team. Senators Schatz and Booker will serve as Chief Deputy Whips, leadership positions that will give them a greater role in shaping policy and communications for Senate Democrats. Schatz and Booker join U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who announced his post in December, on the Chief Deputy Whip team.

“I’m deeply honored to serve in this new leadership role,” said Senator Schatz. “We have a lot of work to do in the Senate, and this new post puts me in a better position to help shape and defend our priorities. I look forward to working with Senators Booker and Merkley and our diverse leadership team on building a stronger future for Hawai‘i and our country.”

Winning 74 percent of the vote in Hawai‘i, Senator Schatz was re-elected to the Senate in November with the largest margin of victory of any Democratic Senate candidate in 2016. Following his re-election, he was appointed to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. In addition to the new committee assignment, Senator Schatz will retain his posts on the Senate committees on Appropriations; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Indian Affairs; and Ethics.

“With President-elect Trump threatening to take affordable health coverage away from millions, preparing to turn dangerous campaign rhetoric about minorities, women, religious groups, and LGBT Americans into reality, and pursuing policies that deny economic opportunity to people who need it most, Democrats need to make sure we are standing up for the middle class, fighting for all Americans, and holding the administration accountable,” said Senator Booker. “I’m honored to be part of the Senate Democratic leadership team, and I look forward to the hard work ahead.”

After winning election to the Senate in a 2013 special election, Senator Booker was re-elected to a full six-year term in 2014. In addition to his leadership duties, in the 115th Congress, Booker will serve on the Senate committees on Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment and Public Works; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

“I can’t think of two better leaders to join the Whip team than Senators Schatz and Booker,” said Democratic Whip Dick Durbin. “Both have proven their mettle as leading policy minds in our country, and have earned a place helping to shape policy and communications in our caucus. Our team is stronger for their experience and vision.”

Schatz and Booker, two of the youngest members of the Senate, have worked together on a number of initiatives and bills. As members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the two worked closely together to help address the future impact of new technology, and most recently, the two partnered on an initiative to increase diversity within the Senate.

Hawaii Senator Calls Trump: Racist, Bully, Bigot and Fraudster

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz today called out Republican Candidate Donald Trump in an interview that was posted in a Civil Beat article entitled, Schatz Enjoys A Comfortable Perch On Capitol Hill.

Senator Schatz in Pahoa after Tropical Storm Iselle.

Senator Schatz in Pahoa after Tropical Storm Iselle.

Schatz states the following about the Republican Candidate:

“This goes way beyond how you feel about any individual issue or whether you consider yourself conservative, moderate or liberal,” Schatz said. “This is about whether or not the United States is going to elect someone who is mentally unfit, who is a racist, a bully, a bigot and a fraudster to the highest office in the land.

More here: http://www.civilbeat.org/2016/07/schatz-enjoys-a-comfortable-perch-on-capitol-hill/

Senator Schatz Visits CDC Headquarters, Meets with Top Official to Discuss Zika, Dengue Response in Hawaii

As the outbreaks of Zika and dengue continue to threaten communities in the United States and around the world, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters and met with top officials to discuss the CDC’s response to outbreaks in Hawai‘i.

Senator Brian Schatz in Puna after Hurricane Iselle

Senator Brian Schatz in Puna after Hurricane Iselle

During the meetings, Senator Schatz called for stronger vector-control programs to fight the spread of mosquito-borne viruses. Zika and dengue are transmitted by the same mosquito population, making vector-control programs a key component to preventing outbreaks.

“Dengue remains a public health emergency on Hawai‘i Island, and with new possible Zika cases in the state, we need more support from the CDC to fight these outbreaks,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. “While we continue to secure more funding, I am pleased we were able to get a commitment from the CDC to address dengue and the threat of Zika in Hawai‘i.”

Last month, Senator Schatz led eight senators in calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to increase funding for mosquito-control programs.

During an appropriations hearing in February, Senator Schatz urged the Director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, to coordinate with state and local governments to improve mosquito-control programs to help stop the spread of both dengue and Zika.

Hawai‘i has had over 250 confirmed cases of dengue since September 2015, mostly concentrated on Hawai‘i Island. Like dengue, Zika can be transmitted by mosquitos. Zika has been spreading throughout the Americas and has been linked with neurological ailments such as paralysis and devastating birth defects. The CDC has issued its highest alert level for Zika, while the World Health Organization has declared it a global health emergency.

Schatz, Senate Democrats Urge President Obama To Take Robust & Aggressive Actions to Address the Spread of Zika Virus – Comments on Dengue Fever Outbreak

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) joined 45 Senate Democrats today and released a new letter to President Obama urging a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad.

Mosquito Bite

“As the dengue outbreak continues to impact communities on Hawai‘i Island, we need more aggressive action to contain it and to stop the threat of Zika, another mosquito-borne virus that is devastating dozens of countries around the world,” said Senator Schatz. “By increasing funding for critical government research and response programs, we can make real progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and preventing its spread to Hawai‘i and the United States.”

The letter calls for the President to take a number of new actions, including taking the Zika virus into consideration as the Administration coordinates, and allocates resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16, and moves forward with the President’s upcoming FY17 budget request, or subsequent amendments. Additionally, Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to:

  • Develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad;
  • Direct USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify key gaps in the international and country-level response in order to best inform our response plan and disseminate, where appropriate, at border crossings and airports;
  • Ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification, and reporting of domestic Zika infections;
  • Direct HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure;
  • Ramp up research efforts, including at the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the link between the Zika virus, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and other public health impacts and accelerate rapid diagnostic and vaccine development; and
  • Encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate, or share information with their international counterparts.

The Zika Virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquitoes, which are also found in the United States. For most, the symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, the effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties, and brain damage.

The full text of the Senate Democrats’ letter is below:

Dear President Obama:

The ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus requires an urgent and aggressive response from the United States. We are writing to urge you to develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad, and protect pregnant women and children. We also recognize that much is still unknown about the Zika virus, and therefore urge you to consider the potential impact the Zika virus will have on the funding needs of the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) Program at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, and other key programs in Fiscal Year (FY)17. We believe that a well-coordinated interagency response plan, coupled with strong investments in our research and response programs, is critical to addressing the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is transmitted via bites from the same kind of mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever. For most, the symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, there is early evidence its effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties, and brain damage. Scientists are also evaluating a possible link between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare condition that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. These potential impacts have spurred the World Health Organization to declare the rise in Zika-linked birth defects and neurological conditions a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

In the Americas, it is anticipated that the outbreak could infect up to 4 million people. Because Zika is carried by low-moisture dwelling mosquitos, local transmission is predicted to spread to all countries and territories where the Aedes aegypti is found, including the United States. There is a critical and urgent need for a robust and coordinated response at all levels of government, and it is necessary to enhance efforts to control outbreaks, counter the spread of the disease, and ultimately reduce the potential for outbreaks in the United States.

Investing in the effort to combat the Zika virus abroad is one of the most important things we can do to prevent widespread transmission of the virus at home. The USAID’s EPT Program helps developing countries prevent, detect, and control the outbreak of infectious diseases. The program has been able to successfully use the technical expertise of the CDC in African, Asian, and Latin American countries to combat infectious diseases like Zika. CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) further works to protect against the spread of diseases like the Zika virus both at home and abroad, while USDA’s Agricultural Research Services Mosquito and Fly Research Unit also plays a critical role in developing better means of mosquito detection, monitoring, and control.

We urge you to take the Zika virus into consideration as you coordinate and allocate resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16 and move forward with your upcoming FY17 budget request or subsequent amendments.

At this time, it is also critically important that we take additional steps to respond to the ongoing outbreak and work to prevent additional cases of Zika from occurring in the United States. To meet this challenge we urge you to:

  • Develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad;
  • Direct USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify key gaps in the international and country-level response in order to best inform our response plan and disseminate, where appropriate, at border crossings and airports;
  • Ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification, and reporting of domestic Zika infections;
  • Direct HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure;
  • Ramp up research efforts, including at the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the link between the Zika virus, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and other public health impacts and accelerate rapid diagnostic and vaccine development; and
  • Encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate, or share information with their international counterparts.

By taking action now, we can make significant progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and reduce the potential for Zika virus outbreaks in the United States. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Senator Schatz Replies to Donald Trump’s Proposal to Bar All Muslims From Entering the US

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the United States:

Senator Brian Schatz in Puna after Hurricane Iselle.

Senator Brian Schatz in Puna after Hurricane Iselle.

“When Donald Trump proposed to block all Muslims from entering the United States, he referred to Roosevelt’s classification of thousands of Japanese, Germans, and Italians during the war as “enemy aliens” as precedent.   This shameful page of our history led to the internment of thousands of Japanese American families.

“In 1988, President Reagan offered a formal apology for this disgrace.  We should remember this chapter in history in order to never repeat the same injustice.”

Senator Schatz to Rejoin Team in Puna to Assist with Iselle Recovery Efforts

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced he will rejoin his team, who have remained on the ground in Puna, on Tuesday to assist with the recovery efforts, specifically focusing on federal funds, the mitigation of albizia trees, and disaster recovery.

Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Gil Kahele hep unload ice in Nanawale.

Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Gil Kahele help unload ice in Nanawale.

Schatz will meet with state and county officials and continue his collaboration with community members from Puna.

Schatz makes chili and rice bowls for the Puna Community

Schatz makes chili and rice bowls for the Puna Community

“I said on Friday night that my commitment to Puna’s recovery extends beyond any election or any election results, and I meant it,” Senator Schatz said. “This is going to take time and effort, and it won’t be easy, but I will continue to do everything that I can to be helpful.”

Talk Story at UH Hilo Featuring Senator Brian Schatz

The University of Hawaii Hilo Political Science Club presents a talk story session with Sen. Brian Schatz on Friday, January 24th from 12:00 to 1:00.

Schatz UHH

Senator Schatz Introduces Bills to Create Jobs and Grow Hawai‘i’s Economy

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz introduced two bills that will create high-quality jobs in Hawai‘i and promote American manufacturing as part of a collaborative “Make it in America” initiative with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and other Senate colleagues.

Sen. Brian Schatz

Sen. Brian Schatz

  • The SelectUSA Authorization Act would help businesses tap into the investment needed to expand and create jobs, spur economic growth and promote American competitiveness. A companion bill in the House has been introduced by Representative Raul Ruiz (D-CA).
  • The Native Small Business Conformity Act, introduced by Senators Schatz and Hirono, would enhance opportunities for Native Hawaiian Organizations to engage in federal contracting as other Native owned small business firms do.

In the coming weeks, Senator Schatz will also be introducing two additional bills to promote trade and incentivize energy efficiency in manufacturing.  The American Export Promotion Act, which accompanies legislation introduced in the House by Representative Pete Gallego (D-TX), would boost exports of Hawai‘i’s unique products and help small businesses access global markets. He will also be working with Senate colleagues to introduce the Expanding Industrial Energy and Water Efficiency Incentives Act, which would offer targeted incentives to promote energy efficiency improvements in industrial and manufacturing facilities and make American industry more competitive.

“These policies will help create good jobs in Hawai‘i and help Hawai‘i businesses grow,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz.  “New clean energy incentives, opportunities for Native Hawaiian small businesses, increasing Hawaii’s exports, and promoting foreign investment in our businesses are all part of a dynamic economy here in Hawai‘i.”

On SelectUSA Authorization Act of 2013:

“The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii supports the SelectUSA bill to provide funding in support of the organization’s efforts to showcase the Unites States as the world’s premier business location, and increase both foreign and domestic investment in U.S. business. This bill, if enacted, will enable SelectUSA to hold future conferences, including one with an Asia-Pacific focus, which, because of Hawaii’s strategic mid-Pacific location, would greatly benefit our local economy and businesses in the state, and is why the Chamber is proud to represent Hawaii at the inaugural SelectUSA Investment Summit.”
-Sherry Menor-McNamara, Hawaii Chamber of Commerce

American Export Promotion Act of 2013:

“As the sole representative to the National Association of Manufacturers for the State of Hawaii, The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii supports the American Export Promotion Act. We believe that Hawaii businesses could benefit from this legislation, which will help small and medium-sized businesses export their products across the globe. The Act’s promotion of American exports and advocating for small businesses and American jobs is good for Hawaii, and clearly ties in to the Chamber’s manufacturing in Hawaii initiative, which is designed to help the industry grow in the state.”
-Sherry Menor-McNamara, Hawaii Chamber of Commerce

“The American Export Promotion Act appears to be a vital step in supporting this essential effort for our economy. I feel strongly that Hawaii Small Businesses would benefit from the technical assistance that could be provided by the Hawaii SBDC to support development of plans to export, particularly to the Asia and Pacific Region.”
-Cathy Wiltse, Hawaii Small Business Development Center

On Native Small Business Conformity Act of 2013:

“The Native Hawaiian Organizations Association supports the Native Small Business Conformity Act of 2013, introduced by Senator Brian Schatz, which seeks to create opportunities for job growth in America. Though small in number, our companies have successfully created thousands of jobs while simultaneously contributing millions of dollars to support community-based non-profit organizations in areas including education, health, economic development, and culture.  This bill will allow us to advance our efforts by increasing business opportunities, creating jobs in Hawaii, and providing the resources to help us fulfill our mission to improve the socio-economic status of the Native Hawaiian community.”
-Ron Jarrett, President, Native Hawaiian Organizations Association

“NACA applauds the introduction of the Native Small Business Conformity Act, an initiative which will allow Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian community-owned businesses to continue to thrive and grow in today’s federal marketplace. We look forward to the favorable review of the bill, which is based on the federal trust responsibility for Native Americans. The advancement of this responsibility allows our communities to further our self-sufficiency and spur economic development across our nation.”
-Kevin Allis, Executive Director, Native American Contractors Association

Senator Brian Schatz on the Government Shutdown – “Let Them Vote”

Sen. Brian Schatz

Sen. Brian Schatz

Aloha —

Let them vote.

It has been widely reported today that a majority of the Republicans in the House would vote for a clean spending bill if it came to the floor. Of course a majority of Democrats have already pledged to support a clean bill to end the shutdown.

That means that a bill to end the shutdown right now would pass with over 300 votes in the House. America is being held hostage by a fraction of the far right of the Republican Party.

So let’s let them vote.

Every member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, deserves the opportunity to vote so that their constituents know exactly where they stand. In the Senate we have already voted to pass a clean bill to end this shutdown, but Speaker Boehner won’t let the House vote on it.

So, on behalf of my colleagues in the House, I am starting a petition to tell Speaker Boehner to let them vote.

Everyday that this shutdown continues is hurting our economy, and putting hard working families at risk. Representatives in the House deserve the opportunity to show their constituents where they stand.

Sign your name to tell Speaker Boehner: Let them vote!

It’s past time to move forward. The House needs to vote, but they need to hear it from you. Join me today to tell Speaker Boehner: Let them vote!

Brian Schatz
U.S. Senator

Senator Brian Schatz on Ted Cruz All Night Grandstanding Effort on Senate Floor – “He Recklessly Wasted Valuable Time…”

Brian Schatz

Aloha —

They’ve really done it this time: Ted Cruz spent all night grandstanding on the Senate floor in an effort to abolish President Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation. He recklessly wasted valuable time holding up real debate and votes on the budget, bringing us even closer to a potential government shutdown.

Cruz’s threats are real – if we don’t pass a budget in the next few days, the government will shut down. Cruz and his Tea Party colleagues would rather send employees home without pay, send the economy into a tailspin, and delay essential public services than fund Obamacare.

We need to show Ted Cruz and his allies that strong progressives like you and me are willing to fight for better health care for middle-class families.

Obamacare is already providing better health care coverage at lower costs for millions of Americans — and it will work even better when the new health care exchanges open on October 1.

But extremists in the House and Senate — led by Texas tea party Senator Ted Cruz — want to kick millions of people off of their health plans, make seniors pay more for essential medications, and end preventive screenings for Medicare recipients.

That’s why my campaign for U.S. Senate is more important than ever. I’ve always stood up for — and will continue leading the fight for — Obamacare, Social Security, and other vital programs that support Hawaii families.

Seeing these values threatened last night and this morning — and seeing how Cruz and his allies are willing to recklessly waste valuable time to grandstand against the health of everyday families — makes me even more motivated to keep fighting for middle-class values.

I’ve got to stay in the Senate to stop people like Ted Cruz and his right-wing corporate cronies from taking away Obamacare.

We can’t let them him get away with this.

Aloha,

Brian Schatz
U.S. Senator 

 

Monsanto Protection Act Removed From Senate CR

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz released the following statement on the elimination of what is known as the “Monsanto Protection Act” from the Senate version of the short-term appropriations bill, the Continuing Resolution.

Brian Schatz
“The Monsanto Protection Act is bad policy for the country and the State of Hawai‘i,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “The Senate version of the Continuing Resolution does not include this provision, effectively repealing the Monsanto Protection Act. This provision took the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture to fully exercise his regulatory power over GMOs, and compromised the role of our courts as a check on the legislative and executive systems, making it significantly more difficult for concerned citizens to present their case.

“I strongly urge the House not to sneak the Monsanto Protection Act back into the final version of the appropriations bill. However, if it is slipped back in, rather than letting the issue be deliberated with full transparency and public input, I will immediately introduce legislation to repeal it.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester from Montana led the charge in getting the Senate to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the Continuing Resolution.

“Stripping the Monsanto Protection Act is a victory for American consumers and family farm agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester.  “Corporate giveaways have no business in a bill to fund the government, and I’m pleased that the Senate stood up for accountability and transparency and against special interests.  I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schatz to make sure that this damaging provision never again makes it into law.”