News from Representative Gabbard


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Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Today is the last day to submit your comment to the FCC to help protect net neutrality. Net neutrality is the basic principle that the Internet should continue to be fair, open, and equal for all—not just for those who can afford to pay to play.  If net neutrality is repealed, those who have the money will have access to content that those without the means will be shut out from.  Net neutrality allows for an open marketplace and exchange of ideas, and levels the playing field, creating a hub for innovation, communication, and so much more.
The FCC's current proposals would roll back these freedoms for the benefit and profit of big internet service providers on the backs of students, entrepreneurs and innovators, small businesses, and really, all of us. More than 8 million people have commented on the FCC’s proposal to unravel net neutrality. If you want to let the FCC know you support net neutrality, click here and submit a comment on the FCC’s website before their deadline TODAY.    

WATCH: Click the photo above to watch my speech on the Net Neutrality Day of Action

Addressing Human Trafficking
Too often we hear about human trafficking and sex slavery and dismiss it as a crime that only happens overseas or in a foreign country. Yet right here in Hawai'i, too often we see people being trafficked from other countries and exploited on our shores. The Global Slavery Index estimated that nearly 46 million people across 167 countries were victims of human trafficking in 2016. While every state, including Hawai'i, has passed legislation to ban trafficking and classify it as a felony, stronger action is needed to combat this modern international slave trade. Earlier this year, I helped introduced the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (H.R.459), and last week, we passed three bills to help increase awareness in order to strengthen prevention and improve law enforcement efforts to fight human trafficking in Hawai'i, across the United States, and abroad. Click here to read more about these bills and watch my speech about human trafficking on the House floor.

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
In Hawai'i, hospitalizations and emergency room visits for opioid-related conditions have more than doubled in the last decade. More people are now dying from overdoses than motor vehicle accidents. This opioid epidemic is killing 91 Americans all across the country every single day. Companies like Purdue Pharma, which is the maker of the commonly known drug, OxyContin, have profited off the suffering of millions of Americans struggling with opioid addiction for years. Now, Purdue and others are going overseas, targeting foreign populations, using the very same shady marketing tactics, lies, and false advertising that helped them get rich at the expense of the American people.

This is absolutely unacceptable. We can't just keep wringing our hands about the opioid crisis without actually tackling the cause of it. Watch my speech on the House floor calling for Purdue and those responsible to be prosecuted for the deaths and lives that have been ruined as a result of their lies.

I helped introduce legislation to extend and expand the GI Bill

Empowering Our Troops and Veterans Through Education
This past week, I joined a bipartisan coalition of House and Senate leaders in introducing the bipartisan Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 to improve and extend GI Bill benefits granted to veterans, and their surviving spouses and dependents. The GI Bill is one of the most important earned benefits that help set our troops up for success while in the service, and after they lay down the uniform. The legislation we introduced will eliminate barriers and increase accessibility to make it easier for our troops, veterans and their dependents to get the education they’ve earned by enhancing existing benefits, closing gaps in eligibility, and ensuring GI Bill benefits keep up with the 21st century economy. Last year in Hawai'i, more than 7,000 veterans used their earned education benefit to open the door to new opportunities for them and their family, and we must continue to build on this progress. Click here to read more about this legislation.

Additional highlights from last week:

  • Meeting with members of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Hawai'i Chapter to discuss protecting Medicaid and impacts of the Republican healthcare bill on Hawaii’s special needs and gifted keiki 
  • Honoring Major Christopher Mercado, who is currently stationed at Schofield Barracks, with the 2017 Army Times Service Member of the Year award for his work to address high rates of veteran suicide nationwide 
  • Meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industry to discuss furthering the US-India economic partnership in the 21st Century  
  • Meeting with experts to discuss reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and protecting Americans’ 4th Amendment rights  
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing to discuss empowering women in the developing world  
  • Meeting with Former Rep. John Tierney and Philip Coyle from the Center For Arms Control And Non-Proliferation to discuss missile defense, North Korea, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons     
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing to discuss terrorism in Southeast Asia 
  • Meetings with EnviroNet Hawai'i and the American Psychiatric Association’s Hawai'i Chapter     
  • Meeting with the Marshall Islands Ambassador Gerald Hackies

With aloha,

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)

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