12/1/17: Let's talk taxes

December 1, 2017

Aloha,

On Tuesday December 5, I’m hosting my last telephone townhall of the year to answer your questions and share information about the proposed tax reform legislation in Congress. I’ll be joined by local and national guests to talk about the tax reform bills introduced in the House and Senate, scams to be aware of in the upcoming tax season, and resources for you and your ohana. 

To participate in this event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Tuesday, December 5 and you'll be joined into the call.

To sign up for a pre-call reminder, text “Tulsi” to 828282 or go to vekeo.com/RepTulsiGabbard and click Register. 

I'm hosting a telephone townhall on Tuesday, December 5. For more information, visit Gabbard.house.gov.      

Here are some additional updates:
  
Upholding Equal Access to the Internet
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai announced a meeting scheduled for December 14 to dismantle landmark net neutrality rules that ensure the Internet remains open, fair, and equal for everyone.
  
Once again, Chairman Pai and the FCC are rewarding pay-to-play politics, ensuring that those with money have a seat at the table, and shutting everyone else out. By dismantling these protections, we turn our backs on the most fundamental First Amendment rights of our students, entrepreneurs, innovators, small businesses, working families, and all who rely on an open Internet to level the playing field of opportunity.
  
I stand with the more than 22 million people, including 61,707 from Hawai'i, that have urged the FCC to uphold net neutrality and reject this corporate attack on equality. The FCC must fulfill its responsibility to all Americans, not just big Internet Service Providers (ISPs). 

I'm calling on Congress to pass the ME TOO Congress Act to immediately end taxpayer harassment settlements and reform our broken harassment policies. 

Overhauling Broken Sexual Harassment Policies
For too long, victims of sexual assault and harassment have been shamed and bullied into silence, perpetuating an inexcusable culture that has no place in our country. No one, whether it be a Capitol Hill staffer, Hollywood actor, schoolteacher, or soldier, or any other profession, should have to choose between their job and their personal safety, security, and privacy. Congress must take action now to address this pervasive problem.

I’m calling on Congress to pass the ME TOO Congress Act to immediately end taxpayer-funded harassment settlements and reform our broken harassment policies.
  
In addition, recent reports have revealed hard-working American taxpayers have paid the bill for offending lawmakers’ settlements totaling more than $17 million in 268 Congressional settlements over the last two decades – while keeping the names of these predators secret. This is wrong and must be corrected immediately. No more excuses.
  
I’ve co-sponsored the Member and Employee Training and Oversight On (ME TOO) Congress Act (H.R.4396), which is bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to prevent sexual harassment in Congress and provide a fair, transparent path to justice for victims. This legislation will end the policy of U.S. taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlements, ensure that Members of Congress are personally and financially responsible for their actions, require mandatory sexual harassment training for all Members and staff, and more.

I talked with Hawai'i Red Cross volunteers that recently returned home from Puerto Rico about the ongoing challenges faced by Puerto Ricans every day.

Caring for Our Island Brothers and Sisters in Puerto Rico
Just over two months ago, Hurricane Maria pummeled the islands of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – leaving millions of our fellow citizens without electricity, clean drinking water, medicine, and the basic resources to rebuild their lives and infrastructure. In the aftermath of this devastation, millions of donations poured in and thousands, including several Hawai'i Red Cross volunteers, travelled to Puerto Rico to provide aid and assistance.
 
Although Congress passed an aid package for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in September, help is still sorely needed.  I’m pushing the Administration to mobilize additional resources to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for recovery and rebuilding efforts.

I spoke about the importance of Model U skills and the power of the Aloha spirit to positively impact others at the 2017 Hawai'i Pacific Model United Nations (PacMUN) 6th Annual Conference.

Recognizing Hawai'i Student Leaders at Pacific Model United Nations Conference
Before returning to Washington DC this week, I spoke with hundreds of  high school students from across Hawai'i, the mainland, and Canada at the 2017 Hawai'i Pacific Model United Nations (PacMUN) 6th Annual Conference. Throughout the weekend, the students debated current issues on the global agenda, delivered speeches, prepared draft resolutions, negotiated with allies and adversaries, resolved conflicts, and navigated parliamentary procedure – all in the interest of mobilizing international cooperation to peacefully resolve problems that affect countries all over the world.

We all can learn from the example of these students to think critically and creatively, ask tough questions, think in another’s shoes, advocate, debate, and most importantly, compromise. I encouraged our keiki to stay involved and share the aloha spirit with all that they meet as they continue their academic and career pursuits. 

With aloha,

Tulsi

Tulsi Gabbard

Member of Congress (HI-02)

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