Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Support Servicemembers and their Families, Healthcare for COFA Migrants, Strengthen National Security in Defense Funding Bill

March 8, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after voting in favor of the annual Defense Appropriations bill, which passed today by a vote of 371-48:

“Today we passed a funding bill with bipartisan support that maintains our commitment to a strong national defense, expands programs that serve our troops and their families, and funds key priorities for Hawaiʻi and our country. This legislation increases Congressional oversight on military operations and refocuses our resources on defeating ISIS and al Qaeda.  It reverses a dangerous provision the House passed last year that I strongly opposed, which allowed the transfer of Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADs) to fighters in Syria.

“In addition, I worked last year to include a provision in this bill that funds Department of Defense (DoD) healthcare providers to care for COFA migrants in Hawaiʻi, as well as in their home countries. Since Congress repealed federal healthcare resources for COFA migrants in 1996, Hawaiʻi has borne a significant portion of the cost associated with medical care for COFA migrants, creating a strain on our limited state resources. This provision will help ensure that the federal government delivers on its promise to provide care to our COFA communities. 

“This bill also reaffirms our nation’s commitment to security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region by ensuring that Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) continues to receive the resources it needs to maintain a ready posture.  

“It also reinforces support for missile defense in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Asia-Pacific to protect our homeland from North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile threat. As North Korea continues to increase their nuclear and missile capabilities, we must continue to strengthen our missile defense program to ensure our ability to detect and destroy missiles long before they reach our shores.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced the Restore Medicaid to Compact of Free Association Migrants Act to require the federal government to fulfill its obligations in providing health care to COFA migrants.




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