News from Representative Gabbard

   

March 16, 2017

Aloha,

A winter storm hit Washington, DC over the weekend, and the icy winds blowing here share no resemblance to the sweet trade winds from home. Here’s a quick update for you on what's happening here:

Fighting for Affordable and Accessible Healthcare for All

Recently released reports confirm what many have already been sayingthe GOP's AHCA is really a handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies that will further exacerbate the burden and cost on American families. Under this bill:

  • Corporations will rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, while our seniors will see their costs rise and low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. 
  • $880 billion in slashed funding for Medicaid over the next decade will threaten the health of millions of vulnerable Americans, and shift costs to state and local governments that already face tight budgets.
  • Seniors could see their premiums increase, so they may pay up to five times more than younger people under the new age-rating rules.    

While I have long called for serious improvements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is imperative that any reforms to our healthcare system actually serve the health and wellbeing of people. This bill does the opposite—it will have a negative impact on the people of Hawai'i and our country. I strongly oppose this harmful legislation, and will continue working for true healthcare reform that puts people above the profits of corporations.

Protecting Our National Security

Last week, we passed a funding bill with bipartisan support that maintains our commitment to a strong national defense, expands programs that serve our troops and their families, and funds key priorities for Hawai'i and our country. Here are some highlights:

  • Reverses a dangerous provision the House passed last year that I strongly opposed, which allowed the transfer of Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADs) to fighters in Syria.
  • Reinforces support for missile defense in Hawai'i and throughout the Asia-Pacific to protect our homeland from North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile threat.
  • Increases Congressional oversight on military operations and refocuses our resources on defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda.
  • Funds Department of Defense (DoD) healthcare providers to care for COFA migrants in Hawai'i, as well as in their home countries. I've long called for the federal government to deliver on its promise to caring for our COFA migrants, and this provision will help ensure that the federal government delivers on its promise to provide care to our COFA communities.

 

I spoke on the House floor to honor Maui's Trucker Dukes, who recently lost his life after battling childhood cancer. Trucker's spirit of resilience and open heart have become an inspiration for people across the world. Click the photo above to watch my speech.  

Supporting Local Agriculture & Fighting Invasive Species  

Our Hawai'i congressional delegation came together to introduce the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative to help fight the macadamia felted coccid—an invasive species destroying macadamia trees in Hawai'i and threatening our domestic macadamia nut industry at large. In Hawai'i alone, this pest costs our local farmers, landowners and agriculture industry millions of dollars a year, and puts hundreds of local farms, thousands of local workers, and the future of one of our most important crops at risk. Very little is known about this invasive pest, making it difficult for our farmers and agriculture industry to fight back. The Macadamia Tree Health Initiative will authorize much-needed research and development and establish a comprehensive management plan to help our local agriculture industry combat these invasive, harmful insects. Click here to learn more.

In my visits with farmers across the state, I've heard story after story of how the tiny invasive macadamia felted coccid is destroying farms and threatening the livelihood of our agriculture industry 

Working to Pass the Stop Arming Terrorists Act
 

 
Senator Rand Paul introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act in the U.S. Senate (S.532) last week, continuing the momentum that we’ve been building in the House in support of the bill. Republican Congressman Scott Perry (PA-04) and Democratic Congressman John Conyers (MI-13)—both veterans—have also recently signed on as cosponsors of the bill. Other highlights: 

  • I welcomed Tima Kurdi, co-founder of the Kurdi Foundation and advocate for refugees worldwide, as my guest to the Presidential Joint Address to Congress. Tima’s sister-in-law Rehanna and two nephews, Alan and Ghalib, drowned en route to Greece on their way to seek refuge from the Syrian war in 2015. Click here to read Tima's powerful story and why she supports the Stop Arming Terrorists Act.
     
  • I held a bipartisan press conference with bill cosponsors Reps. Tom Garrett (VA-05) and Peter Welch (VT-AL) urging our colleagues to support and pass the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, and helping to increase awareness of the bill.

While Congress is in session for a few more weeks, I invite you to contact me or my team if we can be of assistance. We have outreach representatives located in every county in Hawai'i who can help with casework like VA benefits, immigration, Social Security, and much more. 

With Aloha,

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)

   

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