Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Newsletter: Congressional Update (10/24/17)

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October 24, 2017

Aloha,

I just landed back in Washington, DC after spending time with many of you over the past week while I was home in Hawai'i. Highlights included: 

  • Meeting with local sustainability leaders to discuss the OFF Act that I recently introduced, along with ways to collaborate at the state and federal level on climate change, sustainability, community resiliency, and more
  • Hosting two community roundtable discussions on healthcare, where we discussed federal healthcare reform and also the challenges and opportunities of rural healthcare in Hawai'i
  • Meeting with local singer/songwriter Kimié Miner and Vice President of Palm Records, Jody Brotman of Hawai'i Island, to discuss federal legislation to protect and empower local music creators 
  • Hosting a Congress On Your Corner in Waimanalo town center to hear from constituents and local small business owners, and share how my office can assist with federal services like the VA, IRS, Social Security, and more
  • Recognizing the more than 17 years of contributions 'Ohana Komputer has made in serving Hawai'i’s underserved communities
  • Kicking off the first-ever women’s big wave surfing competition at Waimea Bay with thirty women representing nine different countries around the world!

 

I helped kick off the first ever women's big wave surf competition at Waimea Bay recognizing thirty of our female surfers from around the world

Here are some additional updates:

Upholding Our Commitments
President Trump’s recent decision to decertify Iran's compliance with the Iran Nuclear Deal has put the peace and security of Hawai'i and the United States at risk. While far from perfect, the purpose of this deal was to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon and to avert all-out war - this is exactly what has been done. This agreement is based on verification, not trust, and so far, according to our U.S. military, intelligence sources, and the international agency compliance experts (IAEA), Iran has complied. 

The President’s decision to decertify the deal now puts the ultimate responsibility in the hands of Congress, and it is essential we put politics aside and do what is best for our national security and the American people by upholding this deal. Click here to read my article in The Hill with more information about the urgency and importance of this issue.

Click the photo above to watch my speech on the House floor urging President Trump to uphold the Iran nuclear agreem

Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence often hides behind closed doors and drawn curtains, but the epidemic is very staggering. Here in Hawai‘i, at least 575 domestic violence survivors reach out to local organizations seeking help every single day. Survivors can seek legal protection from their abusers, but they aren't likely to do so – or to be successful – unless they have a lawyer. With just 32 percent of victims successfully obtaining a restraining order without legal representation, it’s clear we must do more. I’ve introduced the POWER Act to require every state’s U.S. attorney to promote and expand pro-bono legal services, specifically for domestic violence survivors. As we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month through October, we must each have the courage to confront the pervasiveness of this crime and take action to provide survivors with the safety and security that they need. 

 

I’m working to secure critical funding and growth opportunities for Hawai’i in the upcoming 2018 farm bill

National Support for our Local Farmers
I recently joined our local farmers at the 7th Annual Hawai’i Farmers Union United (HFUU) Convention held at Kahumana Farms in Wai’anae. We celebrated Hawai’i’s local chapter receiving charter status with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and discussed opportunities for Hawai’i in the upcoming 2018 farm bill. I shared about my work in Washington to fight for funding for important grant programs that empower Hawai’i’s communities to live more sustainably, strengthen local and regional food systems, and empower those growing food to feed Hawai’i’s people. We need to level the playing field to empower our local farmers, rather than provide more giveaways to big, agribusiness corporations. 

We have great potential for Hawai’i to empower our local farmers, strengthen our food security, secure funding for critical research, and empower our local communities through locally grown agriculture. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a rise in local farm-to-school programs, improved value of our coffee industries, and increased engagement among our local community to buy local and invest in community farming. There is much to be done to build on these successes, and we must continue to bring together all the necessary community components to make it happen.  

 Other highlights: 

  • Cosponsored the Free Veterans from Fees Act (H.R. 3997), to waive the administrative fee for veterans applying for a permit at war memorials on federal land
  • Cosponsored the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act (H.R.3947), a bipartisan bill to ban “bump stocks” used in the heartbreaking tragedy in Las Vegas
  • Introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA), which has empowered more than 1,400 low-income families in Hawai’i over the past two decades
  • Voted for H.R. 2266 to send more than $36 billion in emergency federal aid to address the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the wildfires spreading across the west coast
  • Met with Aimoku McClellan, Cariann Ah Loo, and Jason Greenawalt to discuss the economic advancement of the Native Hawaiian community
  • Met with General Robert B. Neller, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Talked story and answered questions from students at Mililani Middle School during their visit to Washington
  • Met with Chels Chae and Steven Lim of Dynamic Planning & Response to expand small business opportunities and employment for veterans in Hawai‘i
  • Met with the Association of Banks in Lebanon to hear an on-the-ground perspective of the complex business situation in the Middle East, as well as steps to combat ISIS and Hezbollah financing
  • Attended a briefing from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security on Hurricane Maria relief and recovery efforts
  • Met with Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer of the London Center for Policy Research to discuss reforms needed for election integrity and security
  • Met with The Aspen Institute’s Strategy Group as part of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to further cooperation and understanding between the world’s oldest and largest democracies

With aloha,

Tulsi Gabbard 
Member of Congress

 

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