Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Talks Small Business Relief with 10,000 Hawai‘i Residents, Demands Better State Leadership on Coronavirus Crisis
April 8, 2020
Honolulu, HI—This afternoon, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted a live, tele-town hall to provide updates on the national and state response to the coronavirus. She was joined by Jane Sawyer, the Hawai‘i District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which is providing support for small businesses nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic. They answered questions and discussed the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the resources available to help Hawai‘i residents and small businesses.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will host her next tele-town hall on Wednesday, April 15 at 4:00 p.m HT. You can register in advance by signing up on the Congresswoman’s tele-town hall webpage, gabbard.house.gov/connect/telephone-townhalls, or you can listen to the event live online — and ask questions — by going to gabbard.house.gov/live during the scheduled event.
“Small business owners and their employees are being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and economic downturn. Many are facing bankruptcy, almost total reduction in revenue, and uncertainty about how to plan for the future. Delivering updated information through this town hall regarding recent Congressional legislation passed, what assistance is available, and how to get it to them quickly is critical,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Mahalo to Jane Sawyer from the SBA for joining me this afternoon to help answer questions about their most pressing concerns.”
Rep. Gabbard opened the call with an update on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other emergency funding bills, including the money that has already made its way to Hawai‘i as a result of Congressional legislation, including funds for transit, community health centers, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and direct payments to individuals.
In response to a question about the importance of testing and concerns about community spread by asymptomatic individuals, Rep. Gabbard reiterated her call for Hawai‘i Department of Health officials Bruce Anderson and Dr. Sarah Park to resign because of their repeated failures that put the health, lives and wellbeing of the people of Hawaii at risk. She added that should they refuse to step down, Governor Ige should fire them.
Jane Sawyer gave an overview on the work the Small Business Administration is doing to assist our small businesses, including the SBA’s work to roll out the existing Office of Disaster Assistance as well as a fund created by the CARES Act for small businesses. She also gave an update on the webinars the SBA will be hosting in the coming days to provide additional information. More information can be found on the Small Business Administration's website: www.sba.gov.
Congresswoman Gabbard and Jane Sawyer answered questions from concerned residents and small business owners about the assistance available to them from the Federal government, as well as a number of questions about the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the work that is ongoing to address the crisis.
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has hosted three tele-town hall events, on March 18, March 25, and April 1, in order to update Hawai‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as community leaders to answer questions from across the state.
In the last month, Rep. Gabbard cosponsored H.Res.908, a resolution which draws attention to the increased anti-Asian bigotry being witnessed during the coronavirus crisis and calls on the Federal government to work with state and local law enforcement to confront and prosecute hate crimes related to this, as well as reached out to U.S. Departments/Agencies, Congressional Leaders, and mortgage lenders to urge them to take measures that respect the hardships faced by individuals and families during this pandemic including a halt to all foreclosure and eviction proceedings, urging support for SNAP and WIC, as well as additional funding for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit. She continues to call for direct support for those that are most in need in the relief bills before Congress, including farmers, ranchers, military families, rural communities, those living paycheck to paycheck, and the communities that rely on the tourism industry for their livelihoods.
Rep. Gabbard has continued to work to make sure that much-needed medical supplies, testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are readily available and recently sent a letter requesting that the Trump Administration prioritize working with our trading partners to ensure medical providers can obtain needed equipment quickly. She also sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services calling for the Departments to ensure access to PPE for essential childcare providers.
On March 27, the House passed H.R.748 by voice vote. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is the third bill passed by Congress as part of its emergency response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i.
In March, working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sent two letters calling on President Trump to support Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.
She has also created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sent out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.
On March 21, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus.
Rep. Gabbard voted to pass the first round of emergency funds to address the novel coronavirus. The first coronavirus emergency funding bill that she helped pass in Congress led to over $750,000 being allocated to 14 community health centers in our district.
Rep. Gabbard voted on March 14 to pass H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.
Rep. Gabbard also introduced H.Res. 897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.
As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they could guarantee all passengers would be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.
In order to ensure that any treatment developed for COVID-19 is accessible and affordable, Rep. Gabbard joined a letter to President Trump demanding that pharmaceutical companies are not issued exclusive licenses for the production of such treatments or capitalize on drugs that have been funded by taxpayer dollars.
Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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