Aloha Emily,
I’m writing to you with a quick update from the plane on my way back to Hawai'i where I’m looking forward to joining the Wai'anae community tomorrow in celebrating our victorious UFC fighters Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros.
On Tuesday, I joined my colleagues in a unanimous vote condemning attacks by Turkish President Erdogan’s security guards against peaceful protesters in Washington D.C. Our resolution, H.Res. 354, urges Turkey to return all security officials involved in the incident for prosecution under United States law, and calls for the universal protection of the free press and civil society. 

On Wednesday, I spoke on the House floor urging my colleagues to support a ‘private bill’ to adjust Andres Magana Ortiz’s eligibility for legal, permanent residence in the United States.  My bill, For the relief of Andres Magana Ortiz (H.R. 2794), is a last resort option that would permit a farmer, community leader, father and loving husband to remain at his home with his family in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i. After coming to the U.S. at just 15 years old, and nearly three decades living in Hawai'i, Mr. Ortiz worked his way from coffee picker to small business owner, growing Hawai'i’s coffee economy and creating local jobs.  I joined the Hawai'i delegation in sending a letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly, urging him to suspend his deportation order.  Mr. Ortiz received a 30-day reprieve from deportation yesterday.  Like so many others, Mr. Ortiz deserves the opportunity to continue his pathway to a legal status, and I will continue to pursue legislative options to keep Mr. Ortiz with his family in the United States.

Click the photo above to watch Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s speech on the House floor urging Congress to vote against the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (H.R.10)

I spoke in strong opposition and casted my NO vote yesterday against a measure that rolls back years of progress towards stronger consumer financial protection from Wall Street big bank risky practices.  With the exception of one courageous Republican, my colleague Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), the vote was along party lines, and unfortunately, H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, passed.  During the 2008 economic crisis, Hawai'i’s unemployment rate more than doubled.  Over 11 million people lost their homes across our country. The American people deserve protections against anything like that happening again.  However, the Wall Street banks that were 'too big to fail' in 2008 are even bigger and more powerful today.  H.R. 10 removes restrictions on dangerous, speculative investments, exempts big banks from major regulatory standards, and sharply limits the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  For these reasons and more, I voted against this bill, and continue to urge my colleagues to instead support H.R. 790, the Return to Prudent Banking Act -  a bill that I cosponsored along with 51 of my colleagues, to reinstate the protections of Glass-Steagall that were removed from law in the late 90s.  
This week, I also attended hearings on:

  • Our country’s missile defeat programs and activities
  • U.S. conventional arms transfers to our defense partners in the Persian Gulf
  • American policy in dealing with Hezbollah’s financial network
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with members of AARP – Hawai'i in her Washington D.C. office.

I also met with:

  • Democratic Whip’s National Security Working Group to discuss our country’s sanctions policy against Russia and North Korea
  • Members representing AARP – Hawai'i, who inspired me with their passion and dedication for our kupuna and caregivers
  • Tony Shaffer with the London Center for Policy Research and Dennis Kucinich to discuss our current relations with Saudi Arabia

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you.

Mahalo nui loa,

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)

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