Rep. Gabbard Introduces Bill to Prevent Forced Furloughs for Nurses During Coronavirus Crisis

Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) introduced the Nurse Workforce Protection Act, which would prevent a healthcare provider from laying off a significant portion of its nursing workforce or significantly reducing their hours during the coronavirus crisis as a condition for receiving federal emergency relief funds. Reps. Gabbard and Davis are leaders of the bipartisan Congressional Nursing Caucus and May 6-12 is National Nurses Week.

In April, 1.4 million health care workers, including many nurses, lost their jobs. Congress has appropriated $175 billion to help health care providers respond to COVID-19 and address lost revenue because of the virus. To be eligible for federal funding, the Nurse Workforce Protection Act requires a health care provider to retain at least 75% of its nurses and cannot reduce their pay or hours by more than 25%. Additionally, the bill prohibits providers from forcing nurses to take paid or unpaid leave.

“Nurses are our frontline heroes, putting their lives on the line during this public health crisis every single day. They deserve the support they need to do their jobs. Budgets should not be balanced on the backs of these vital workers who are saving people’s lives. This is the very reason Congress created the Provider Relief Fund in the CARES Act,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “So many of our nurses are working under extreme conditions, suffering through major shortages of personal protective equipment, being separated from their families, and working sustained emergency hours and conditions. They have our backs. We must have theirs.”

“Nurses are the backbone of our health care delivery system and if a provider is receiving federal funding, they should not be furloughing nurses,” said Rep. Rodney Davis. “Congress is providing $175 billion to our health care providers and they should be using this funding, in part, to maintain staff. This bill simply asks the same of health care providers as we have of the small businesses participating in the Paycheck Protection Program: if you’re receiving taxpayer dollars that will not be paid back, you should be using it to keep people employed.”

Update on Today’s Tele-Town Hall With Rep. Gabbard

This afternoon, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted her latest tele-town hall meeting, where she was joined by Sherry Menor-McNamara, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i’s President and CEO, to discuss the impact on businesses and resources available to assist them, and Darin Leong, an employment law attorney, who has worked with Hawai‘i community leaders to raise awareness about relief programs available to employers and employees.

LISTEN to the full tele-town hall

“This pandemic has drawn attention to the reality that our state must be able to rely on more than just tourism for our economy to increase our resilience and ability to withstand downturns in tourism, for any reason. We need a diverse and sustainable economy that is good for our  people and our ʻāina. We have a plethora of innovative, small business entrepreneurs — including amongst our farmers — who are eager to reshape a strong, sustainable, and resilient future for Hawai’i,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. 

Rep. Gabbard opened the town hall by noting that today is national Nurse Appreciation Day. Nurses remain on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus. She urged everyone to thank the nurses they know.

The State of Hawai‘i has indicated it is considering cutting public employee salaries by 20% to cover the budget shortfall due to the coronavirus. But, many of these employees — including first responders, public health professionals, and teachers — have worked through the pandemic. Rep. Gabbard emphasized that the next round of emergency funding will be focused on helping state and local governments cover the catastrophic losses they have had due to COVID-19 to help protect these workers.

Sherry Menor-McNamara, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i’s President and CEO, noted the pandemic’s huge impact on the economy and families in Hawai‘i. No business has been immune, but small and local businesses have been especially hard-hit. She emphasized the help that is available to businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs, and answered questions about how to access those resources, and how businesses should adjust to the reality of the crisis. She noted that COVID-19 had an immediate impact on businesses, leading to drastic job losses and while most businesses hope to rehire employees, unemployment will still be high in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. 

Darin Leong answered questions from individuals and small business owners about navigating the funding that is still available to support them. He thanked Rep. Gabbard and the Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation for their work in securing additional funding for small businesses, noting that in the first five days after receiving this additional funding, Hawai‘i was able to get help to 8,000 small businesses, with loan sizes averaging $54,000. 

He fielded questions regarding the different state and federal unemployment insurance programs. Rep. Gabbard noted that her staff has been following up with constituents to provide additional direction to those seeking UI assistance.

Rep. Gabbard to Host Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall Today

Today, Wednesday, May 6th at 4 p.m. (Hawaii Time), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will be hosting another tele-town hall meeting to update Hawai‘i residents about COVID-19 impacts and resources available.

She will be joined by Sherry Menor-McNamara, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i’s President and CEO, to discuss the impact on businesses and resources available to assist them, as well as Darin Leong, an employment law attorney, who has worked with Hawai‘i community leaders to raise awareness about relief programs available to employers and employees.

This will be the eighth of a weekly coronavirus-related live telephone town hall series Rep. Gabbard has hosted.

You can sign up on Rep. Gabbard’s website to receive a phone call to join the event. Or, you can listen online at gabbard.house.gov/live.

Rep. Gabbard Hosting Telephone Town Hall to Provide Update on Crisis

On Wednesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. HT, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will host her next COVID-19 tele-town hall update from Washington, DC where she is returning for votes. In addition to covering the latest developments, including how Congressional emergency funds are supporting Hawai‘i, she will be joined by Shawna Lamothe and David A. Tucker II from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to give an update on the stimulus checks now making their way to individuals, as well as Sharlette Poe from the U.S. Census Bureau. Rep. Gabbard and her guests will field questions from callers. This will be the sixth of a weekly coronavirus-related live telephone town hall series Rep. Gabbard has hosted.

You can sign up on Rep. Gabbard’s website to receive a phone call to join the event.

Or, you can listen online at gabbard.house.gov/live.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has hosted five tele-town hall events, on March 18March 25April 1April 8, and April 15 to update Hawai‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as military commanders and community leaders to answer questions from across the state.

She created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sends out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.

Protecting and Providing for Americans During the Crisis

In early March, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced H.Res.897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.

In March and early April, she cosponsored H.Res.908, a resolution which draws attention to the increased anti-Asian bigotry being witnessed during the coronavirus crisis and calls on the Federal government to work with state and local law enforcement to confront and prosecute hate crimes related to this, as well as reached out to U.S. Departments/Agencies, Congressional Leaders, and mortgage lenders to urge them to take measures that respect the hardships faced by individuals and families during this pandemic including a halt to all foreclosure and eviction proceedings and urging support for SNAP and WIC. She continues to call for direct support for those that are most in need in the relief bills before Congress, including farmers, ranchersmilitary familiesrural communitiesthose living paycheck to paycheck, and the communities that rely on the tourism industry for their livelihoods.

Rep. Gabbard has continued to work to make sure that much-needed medical supplies, testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are readily available and recently sent a letter requesting that the Trump Administration prioritize working with our trading partners to ensure medical providers can obtain needed equipment quickly. She also sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services calling for the Departments to ensure access to PPE for essential childcare providers.

In March, working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sent two letters calling on President Trump to support Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.

Securing Emergency Funding

To date, Congress has passed 3 emergency funding bills:

  • H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (on March 4)
  • H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (on March 14)
  • H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (on March 27)

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provided urgently needed, immediate funds to help with the initial impact of the virus on America. She voted to pass this bill which included funds for 14 community health centers in Hawai‘i which received more than $750,000 combined in support.

Next, she voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.

The CARES Act includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i. Though the bill included Rep. Gabbard’s idea for a direct benefit payment to support Americans reeling from the pandemic’s impact, it fell short of the full scope suggested in her legislation, H.Res.897, and she urged Congress to do more.

In the weeks following the passage of the CARES Act, Hawai‘i received over $142 million in emergency funds to help support healthcare providers. This included more than $10 million in additional funds to the 14 community health centers which received funds after the first emergency bill as well as $132 million to other healthcare providers across the State to help cover the costs they are incurring due to the crisis. However, this $132 million came with the stipulation that these healthcare providers may not engage in “surprise billing” of patients they have treated for COVID-19.

Also, Hawai‘i received over $107 million in funds through the CARES Act to support public transportation systems, community public health infrastructure, and housing for vulnerable communities by way of Federal Transit Authority grants, Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs), and the Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS program.

By mid-April, the CARES Act continued to yield funds for Hawai‘i, including an estimated $88 million for Educational purposes and over $133 million for its airports. The Educational funds will help support K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities. This includes a separate fund of $154 million for the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Furthermore, FEMA announced another round of disaster relief funds, $100 million available to all 50 States and U.S. Territories which can apply for funding by April 28.

Calls for Preventative Measures

In early April, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for the resignation of Hawai‘i Department of Health officials Bruce Anderson and Dr. Sarah Park because of their repeated failures that put the health, lives and well-being of the people of Hawai‘i at risk. She added that should they refuse to step down, Governor Ige should fire them.

On March 21, Rep. Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus.

As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they could guarantee all passengers would be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.

Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.

COVID-19: Federal Funding for Hawai‘i Communities, Transit & Housing

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced Federal funding coming to Hawai‘i, including over $100 million for COVID-19 response for public transit and over $7 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The funding implements portions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed by Congress just over a week ago.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

“The recent passage of the CARES Act provided critical assistance for individuals, businesses, and essential services, and we are starting to see these resources delivered to Hawai‘i,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “These resources are going directly to our counties and to support housing programs for those in need.”

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has allocated a total of $107,816,109 for transit in Hawai‘i to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. The money will reach Hawai‘i through the Urbanized Area, Formula Grants Program Rural Areas Formula Grants Program, and the Tribal Transit Formula Grants Program. The funds are vital to keeping public transportation systems in Hawai‘i — which have seen dramatic drops in use and ridership — survive the pandemic and be there for Hawai‘i’s residents that depend on it to get back to work once the public health crisis has passed.

Starting April 1, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that mortgage servicers must extend deferred or reduced mortgage payment options (forbearance) for up to six months, and must provide an additional six months of forbearance if requested by borrowers with a financial hardship that makes them unable to pay their mortgage due to the COVID-19 National Emergency. This mandate implements provisions contained in the landmark Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). You can read more details in the Department’s full announcement.

HUD is also in charge of existing grant programs Congress provided with additional funds through the CARES Act to help respond to the pandemic.

Through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Hawai‘i was awarded the following funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Hawai‘i County — $1,543,033
  • Kaua‘i County — $412,929
  • Maui County — $1,104,173
  • Honolulu — $4,872,982

These funds will help construct medical facilities, expand capacity of hospitals, replace HVAC systems, support business manufacturing medical supplies, construct a group living facility, and carry out job training of health care workers and technicians.

Additionally, Honolulu is receiving $95,143 through HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) as well as $2,429,569 through Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) as part of the CARES Act. ESG funds support the building and operations of more emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families, provide hotel/motel vouchers, childcare and education services, and prevent individuals from becoming homeless.

Background: On March 27, the House passed H.R.748 by voice vote. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is the third bill passed by Congress as part of its emergency response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i. The CARES Act also provided $25 billion to transit agencies to help to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In March, working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sent two letters calling on President Trump to Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.

Rep. Gabbard has hosted three telephone town hall events, on March 18March 25, and April 1, in order to update Hawai‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as community leaders to answer questions from across the state.

She has also created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sent out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.

On March 21, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus

Rep. Gabbard voted to pass the first round of emergency funds to address the novel coronavirus. Some Federal funds are already reaching Hawai‘i. The first coronavirus emergency funding bill that I helped pass in Congress has now led to over $750,000 being allocated to 14 community health centers in our district.

Rep. Gabbard voted on March 14 to pass H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.

Rep. Gabbard also introduced H.Res. 897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.

As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they can guarantee all passengers will be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.

In order to ensure that any treatment developed for COVID-19 is accessible and affordable, Rep. Gabbard joined a letter to President Trump demanding that pharmaceutical companies are not issued exclusive licenses for the production of such treatments or capitalize on drugs that have been funded by taxpayer dollars.

Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.

Rep. Gabbard, Lt. Gov. Green to Host Telephone Town Hall On Coronavirus

Honolulu, HI—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Lt. Gov. Josh Green will be hosting a live telephone town hall tomorrow to talk about the local and national response to the coronavirus.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Lt. Gov. Josh Green will provide updates from their respective areas of responsibility, share their thoughts on the local and national response to the coronavirus pandemic, and take questions live from callers. Lt. Gov. Green has lead the state’s response to coronavirus since the early days of the outbreak.

“Connecting the people of Hawaiʻi to the information they need is one of the most important jobs of government. Lt. Gov. Green and I look forward to speaking directly with residents, hearing their questions, and sharing the latest information we have,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

To participate in this telephone town hall, call toll-free (888) 476-4187 at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 18.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Ban “Bump Stocks”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today supported bipartisan legislation as an original cosponsor to ban the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks” and similar devices. The legislation would also make violation of the law a felony and allow for increased penalties for offenders through a review of federal sentencing guidelines.

“In the aftermath of the Las Vegas tragedy, this bill is an important bipartisan measure that will ban devices that exploit loopholes in existing laws prohibiting automatic weapons. I urge my colleagues to take action and support this bipartisan, commonsense legislation. There is clearly more that Congress can and should do, like passing legislation that will require background checks to those seeking to purchase a gun, which the majority of Americans support. Bills like the one we are introducing today are an important first step to bringing people together around issues that best serve the safety and wellbeing of the American people,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: “Bump stocks” are devices that use a semi-automatic weapon’s recoil to allow rapid fire at a rate mirroring that of a fully automatic weapon — 400 to 800 rounds a minute. These devices are legal, unregulated, widely available, and can be purchased online for as little as $100. Their sole purpose is to exacerbate the rate of fire.

The bipartisan legislation introduced today is supported by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, including Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Peter King (NY-2), Jared Polis (CO-2), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Robin Kelly (IL-2), Patrick Meehan (PA-7), Jacky Rosen (NV-3), Ed Royce (CA-39), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Chris Smith (NJ-4), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Erik Paulsen (MN-3), Ruben Kihuen (NV-4), Ryan Costello (PA-6), John Delaney (MD-6), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Gene Green (TX-29), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a cosponsor of the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act (H.R.3947).

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Presented with IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Government

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) yesterday received the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Salutes Award for Leadership in Government for her dedication to serving and empowering veterans. The award was presented at the first annual IAVA Salutes event that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership and courage while advocating on behalf of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Martha Raddatz of ABC News was recognized alongside Rep. Tulsi Gabbard with the IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, pictured with Allison Jaslow, Executive Director of IAVA; Martha Raddatz, ABC News; and Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of IAVA, received the IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Government on Wednesday evening.

“As we observed the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks earlier this month, I was once again reminded how that fateful day changed our country and our lives. During my deployment to Iraq where I served in a medical unit, I questioned whether leaders in Washington truly understood the cost of war, and if they ever thought about those who truly pay the price. One of the major motivations for me to serve in Congress came from my experiences being deployed, and wanting to be in a position to make critical decisions regarding when to go to war, and just as importantly, when not to go to war, and to ensure the promise our country made to our veterans is upheld and honored. I am humbled to receive the IAVA Salutes Award, and I will continue to do my best to honor the service and sacrifices of my brothers and sisters in arms and their families,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“We were honored to have the opportunity to recognize Congresswoman Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and soldier in the National Guard. Congresswoman Gabbard consistently has the backs of IAVA members through her work in Congress, and is a steadfast advocate for national defense issues. Congresswoman Gabbard is an example of what our generation of veteran leaders can accomplish. She has been a critical leader in IAVA’s fight for increased recognition and services for women veterans, including serving as an original co-sponsor of the Deborah Sampson Act,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA.

Background:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard launched the bipartisan Congressional Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus in 2015 on the 12th Anniversary of the Iraq War. The caucus includes a bipartisan group of Members who have served in the military after 9/11, and who are dedicated to issues related to our newest generation of veterans.

Rep. Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service as a Major in the Army National Guard. Her 2005 deployment was a 12-month tour at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Bipartisan Coalition Reintroduce Native Hawaiian Housing Legislation

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in introducing the reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA), which has empowered more than 1,400 low-income families in Hawaiʻi over the past two decades, along with native communities across the country. In addition to the introduction of the bill today in the House, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) has also introduced companion language in the U.S. Senate.

“Reauthorizing NAHASDA is critical to fulfill our nation’s trust responsibility to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Safe, secure, and affordable housing is essential to the wellbeing of our country’s native people which leads to better health, education, and economic outcomes that strengthen native communities,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “In Hawaiʻi, almost 30 percent of the homeless population is comprised of Native Hawaiiansa statistic that is far too high in the most prosperous country in the world. Reauthorizing NAHASDA provides needed financial support to native communities in Hawaiʻi and across the country. We must continue to fight for the programs that will improve housing and wellness resources for Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities throughout the country.”

Background: NAHASDA was first established in 1996 with the consolidation of several separate assistance programs, provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, into a single block grant program. In 2000, NAHASDA was amended to add Title VIII – Housing Assistance for Native Hawaiians. The amendment adds similar programs for Native Hawaiians who reside on Hawaiian Home Lands to the NAHASDA legislation.

In Hawaiʻi, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is the sole recipient of the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant as provided for by the law. DHHL administers 203,000 acres of trust land; 99% of those lands are located in Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District: from the southernmost tip of Hawai‘i Island to Kauaʻi and Niʻihau; it includes every Hawaiian Island, but excludes urban Honolulu.

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.