12/8/17: Remembering Pearl Harbor

This week, we commemorate the 76th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, a day that forever changed Hawai‘i and our country. We remember those who paid the ultimate price on that fateful day, and the millions of Americans who answered the call to serve in the months and years that followed, including two of our former U.S. Senators, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.
 
We remember the famed “Go for Broke” 442nd Infantry Regiment and other Nisei-only units, made up of young men, who despite seeing their friends and family members sent off into internment camps, still stood up and volunteered to serve -- putting their lives on the line for this country. They served bravely, sacrificed greatly, and became the most highly decorated unit in all of the U.S. Army's history. We must never forget what happened at Pearl Harbor, the lessons learned, and the sacrifices of those who served. There is no question that the stories of the greatest generation will live on forever in the hearts of the people of Hawai‘i and a grateful nation.

I spoke on the House floor to honor the 76th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

 

Here are some additional updates:
 
Empowering Survivors and Holding Sexual Predators in Congress Accountable

 
For too long, survivors of sexual harassment and assault have been isolated, shamed, and bullied into silence, while their abusers walk away scot-free with the privilege of anonymity and without personal or financial accountability. No one, whether it is a Capitol Hill staffer, a Hollywood actor, a school teacher, a soldier or anyone in any profession at any time, should have to choose between their job and personal safety.
 
I introduced H.R. 4494, the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act, a bipartisan bill, to ensure that perpetrators are held personally and financially accountable for their actions by ending taxpayer-funded harassment settlements and requiring any individual who has settled such a claim using taxpayer funds to fully reimburse the Treasury. These egregious acts have no place in Congress or in our society. This must end.

Click to watch my speech on the House floor urging Congress to overhaul its broken system of sexual harassment and assault. 

 

Empowering Veterans in the New Economy
 
I joined public and private sector leaders in a panel discussion focused on harnessing the power, skills, and experience of America’s veterans in the 21st century. Roughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every single day, continuing their commitment to service by giving back to our local communities, starting small businesses, getting involved in public service, and more. Armed with a unique skill set and experience, our veterans are natural leaders and assets to employers, whether in the private sector, the public sector, or the non-profit sector. There are many obstacles that veterans face as they transition from military to civilian life, but finding a good-paying job that harnesses their skills should not be one of them. We need to clear the path for our veterans to transition their service in uniform to success in civilian life by prioritizing veteran employment and setting them up for success in the 21st century economy.

I joined public and private sector leaders in a panel discussion focused on harnessing the power, skills, and experience of America’s veterans in the 21st century.

 

Urging Congress to Serve and Protect American Families – Not Reward Corporate America
 
As the Republicans’ tax reform proposals continue to be debated, hardworking families in Hawai‘i and nationwide are struggling just to get by. I hosted a live “telephone townhall” this week to review the facts about these tax proposals and answer questions about what is at stake for the people of Hawai'i. We discussed: 

  • How the proposed elimination of the state income tax deduction will impact Hawai'i families
  • How Hawai'i families dealing with high cost of living will be impacted by the proposed federal tax reforms
  • The timeline for tax reform to take effect, if passed
  • Impact of the proposed tax reform on Hawai'i’s seniors and graduate students
  • Ways Hawai'i families can protect themselves from tax scams
  • Resources for Hawai'i taxpayers, including contact information for IRS Taxpayer Advocates based in Hawai'i
  • How constituents can get help from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office in dealing with the IRS and other federal agencies

If you weren’t able to join us, you can listen to the full audio recording here. I will keep you updated as the tax bill progresses and about how it is expected to impact the people of Hawai'i in the short and long term.

I hosted a tax-focused "telephone town hall" this week to discuss federal tax reform, resources for Hawai'i residents ahead of tax season, ways Hawai'i families can protect themselves against tax scams, and more.

Improving Access to Quality Healthcare for Disabled Veterans

Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country. Many carry both visible and invisible wounds of war long after they lay down their uniform. Their service should never limit their access to quality healthcare, and the ability to make their own decisions about their care.
 
This week, I introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4571, the FAIR Heroes Act that cuts through the bureaucratic red tape for nearly 30,000 medically retired veterans with disabilities, empowering them to make informed choices on their coverage, while removing penalties and roadblocks to quality healthcare. 

Other additional highlights:

  • Met with Palestinian human rights defender, Issa Amro to discuss ongoing human rights issues in the West Bank
  • Met with Hawai'i Senate President Ron Kouchi to discuss ongoing efforts to secure federal funding for Hawai'i
  • Cosponsored H.R. 4521, the SNAP Simplification for Elderly Act to streamline the processes for our kupuna to sign up and retain benefits under SNAP, Social Security, and Medicare Savings Programs  
  • Called on the Trump Administration to protect our 'aina and the national monuments at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah for future generations
  • Met with Hawaiian Airlines current CEO, Mark Dunkerley and incoming Hawaiian Airlines CEO, Peter Ingram to discuss issues related to FAA reform
  • Called on the CPFB to uphold the ideals of informing, empowering, and protecting American consumers and their hard-earned salaries  
  • Met with the Director of the Army National Guard, LTG Timothy Kadavy to discuss the priorities of Hawai‘i Air and Army National Guards
  • Attended a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan to receive an update on security threats within the region
  • Cosponsored H.R. 4548, the WAGE Act, to strengthen workers’ rights to form unions for improved wages, hours, conditions, and more
  • Met with Ambassador Hovhannissian, Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. to discuss U.S.-Armenia bilateral relations agenda and current developments
  • Met with Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister for an update on reforms and upcoming elections in Iraq
  • Received an updated briefing from U.S. Forces Korea Commander General Vincent Brooks on the North Korea threat
  • Questioned the witnesses of a panel on Cybersecurity of Voting Machines on the security of our election infrastructure and the steps needed to ensure the integrity of our ballot boxes

With aloha,

Tulsi Gabbard

Member of Congress (HI-02)

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