11/22/17: We need real tax reform, not corporate giveaways

November 22, 2017

Aloha,

Last week, the House passed a disastrous tax bill that provides huge giveaways to corporations and special interests, and leaves everyone else behind. There’s no question our tax code needs serious reform, but this tax bill is not the way to achieve it. I voted against this legislation that increases our national deficit by over $1.4 trillion while ultimately raising taxes for millions of hardworking low-income and middle class families.
 
Corporate tax cuts included in this bill were made permanent, while tax cuts for individuals last just under 10 years. Taxpayers in the top 1%--people making over $730,000--would ultimately receive nearly 50% of the total tax benefit.  In a place like Hawai'i, where families already struggle just to get by due to our high cost of living, those earning less than $55,000 per year will see little to no tax break from this bill, and would actually see their taxes increase in 10 years when the individual tax cuts expire.
 
As Hawai'i moves closer to its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2045, this bill would eliminate and phase out renewable and clean energy credits, while giving away $14 billion in federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. At a time when we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, this is exactly the wrong direction for our country.  

Tulsi Gabbard votes against corporate giveaway tax bill

I voted against the corporate giveaway tax bill passed by the House last week

Nearly half of all college graduates in Hawai'i hold some form of student debt, and with this bill, tens of thousands of students and graduates would lose their student loan interest deductions, further burying them in debt.
 
Deductions for major medical expenses, affecting roughly 33,000 people in Hawai'i, would be eliminated, creating a disproportionate impact on our kupuna and those most vulnerable already struggling to pay for the skyrocketing cost of medical care.
 
Many Hawai'i public school teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money every year buying school supplies for their students. This tax bill gets rid of the deduction that teachers can take for these out of pocket expenses, further driving down their take-home pay.  
 
We must work towards real reform that serves the American people and strengthens the middle class. This bill isn’t it--it’s a giveaway to corporations and special interests on the backs of people who are already struggling just to make ends meet. To read more about this bill, click here.
 
Here are some additional updates: 
 
Honoring our Nation’s World War I Memorials 

 
I introduced bipartisan legislation to honor and rehabilitate our country’s World War I memorials. More than four million brave men and women, including 10,000 soldiers from the territory of Hawai'i, bravely served our country during World War I. Nearly a century later, many of the memorials, like the WWI Waikiki Natatorium in Hawai'i, are deteriorating, decaying, and crumbling due to decades of neglect, and many have been closed to the public for decades. The heroes of World War I fought bravely and sacrificed greatly for our country and deserve places of rest and reflection that honor their service. Passing the Honoring World War I Memorials Act of 2017 to restore our country’s World War I memorials would provide a small measure of our nation’s gratitude to those who served and sacrificed. 

Tulsi Gabbard works to preserve WWI Memorials

I’ve introduced legislation to honor and rehabilitate our WWI memorials in Hawai'i and nationwide

Expanding healthcare 

The healthcare open enrollment period for 2018 is now open until December 15. If you don’t have healthcare coverage through your employer, you are self-employed, or need to buy your own insurance, you can purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace online at Healthcare.gov. 
 
No matter if this is your first time getting healthcare coverage, or if you’re returning to look for more affordable plans, Hawai'i residents have until December 15, 2017 to take action through Healthcare.gov. You can take advantage of free assistance to find the right healthcare plan for you and your family at 1-800-318-2596 or visit localhelp.healthcare.gov. For more information, please visit my Open Enrollment fact page on my website.
 
Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of Japanese American Incarceration 
 
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans on U.S. soil during World War II. Despite facing ugly and persistent prejudice and discrimination after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and seeing family members and friends sent to internment camps, Hawaii’s own Nisei-only 442nd volunteered to serve under the American flag, carrying out innumerable acts of heroism and valor and becoming the most highly decorated unit in Army history. 

Click the photo above to watch my speech on the House floor recognizing the 75th anniversary of the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII

I recently hosted a special advanced screening in the U.S. Capitol of “Go for Broke: An Origins Story” that tells the tale of the 442nd. This film, shot exclusively in Hawai'i, shares the “Go for Broke” spirit that carried the 442nd through the war at its heart, as the stories of our brave heroes and their families come to life on the big screen. It was an honor to help share this film that is truly of Hawai'i, by Hawai'i, and for Hawai'i with people and lawmakers from across the country in our nation’s capital.

Click the photo above to watch my interview on the importance and significance of “Go For Broke” -- a product that is of, by, and for the people of Hawai'i

Protecting Hawaii’s Keiki 
 
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides low cost health insurance to nearly nine million children all across the country, including over 25,000 keiki in Hawai'i. Together with Medicaid, these programs have reduced the nation's uninsured rate for children to a record low of five percent.
 
Republicans in Congress let CHIP expire back in September, jeopardizing the health care of millions of children. At the current pace, Hawai'i will exhaust all current CHIP funding by the end of this year, leaving thousands of our keiki unable to visit a doctor for routine checkups, receive immunizations, prescriptions and more. We must act now to re-authorize the CHIP program, to ensure that our children have access to the health care that they need. 

Click the photo above to watch my speech on the House floor urging my Congress to reauthorize the CHIP program to provide low cost health insurance to 8.9 million children across the country, including over 25,000 keiki in Hawai‘i.

Other additional highlights:

  • Introduced legislation to close background check loophole exploited by the Sutherland Springs shooter
  • Attended the Centennial Observance Honoring Queen Lili'uokalani’s Life and Legacy at the Hawai'i State Capitol
  • Spoke at special Hawai'i Five-0 “Sunset on the Beach” in Waikiki featuring a special screening and tribute to veterans during Veterans Day weekend
  • Introduced the Sustainable Fishing Workforce Protection Act to address concerns about the status of foreign workers in Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet
  • Urged Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act to enact a permanent solution for millions of DREAMers across the country and more than 600 DACA recipients in Hawai'i
  • Announced more than $60 million in rural electric infrastructure funding for Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperation (KIUC).
  • Built momentum for the OFF Act—legislation I’ve introduced to put the United States on a pathway to replace fossil fuels with 100% clean energy generation and use by 2035.
  • Voted against a harmful healthcare bill that would threaten the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans, including seniors, COFA migrants, low-income families, and uninsured patients. Hawai‘i alone would lose over $3.5 million in federal healthcare funds in FY 2019, and over $21 million between FY 2019 and FY 2023 because of the bill’s offsets.
  • Hosted a congressional briefing to address the nursing shortage in Hawai'i and in rural communities across the country.
  • Met with Vivieca Wright Simpson, Chief of Staff of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to discuss how to better meet the needs of Hawaii’s veterans
  • Met with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to discuss reauthorizing Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) and how current funds are being used to provide affordable housing for Native Hawaiians, Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
  • Delivered the Congressional keynote address at the Indian American Friendship Council’s (IAFC) 20th Annual Legislative Conference, and was honored with the IAFC’s National Service Award for leadership in strengthening the U.S.-India partnership, including initiating a Sister-State relationship between Hawai'i and Goa, India.
  • Met with H.E. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to Washington to discuss the referendum for independence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq 

With aloha,

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress

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More updates and information from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard can be found here:

 

 
 

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