Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Backs Bipartisan Legislation to Address Hawai‘i, Nationwide Nursing Shortage

February 22, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, today announced support for bipartisan legislation to address the severe shortage of nurses in Hawai’i and across the country. The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R.5052) would direct Medicare-participating hospitals to develop nurse staffing plans that ensure an adequate number of nurses to meet patient needs and improve patient safety. Without adequate registered nurse staffing, patients are at higher risk for prolonged hospital stays, increased infections, avoidable medication errors, falls, injuries, and even death. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“Nurses are the driving force of our healthcare system, providing top-notch healthcare while ensuring patient safety and comfort,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “Unfortunately too many hospitals, especially in our rural and under-served communities, face a nursing shortageputting patient lives and health at risk and driving up hospital costs. Adding nurses to hospital staffing plans would help to dramatically prevent hospital deaths, reduce infections and hospital re-admissions, and save hospitals nearly $3 billion. Our bipartisan legislation will support and empower nurses in Hawai‘i and across the country to deliver quality healthcare for all.”

“As a husband of a nurse, I have experienced first-hand the many challenges and responsibilities nurses face on a day to day basis,” said Congressman David Joyce. “Ensuring patient safety and care has always been a priority but has faced many challenges when nurses are over worked and hospitals are under staffed. As Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus, I am proud to introduce legislation that addresses the issue and protects our patients and nurses.”

“RN staffing makes a critical difference for patients and the quality of their care,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association. “Appropriate nurse staffing keeps patients safe and protects them from preventable complications, even lowering the risk of death. Nursing care is like medication—we would never withhold a medication when we know its lifesaving effects. The Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act empowers direct care nurses to determine the unique and variable needs of their patients to ensure the safety and quality outcomes of care.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus with Rep. David Joyce (OH-14). The congresswoman joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce H.R.959, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act in February of 2017. The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize federal funding for nursing workforce and education programs to help grow and support nurses across the United States. The congresswoman has also hosted a congressional briefing focused on the severe shortage of nurses in Hawai‘i and across the country. She also supports HR676 Improved Medicare For All.

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Bill that Undermines Civil Rights Protections for Americans with Disabilities

Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted against legislation that unravels civil rights protections for millions of individuals with disabilities in Hawai‘i and across the country. H.R. 620 undermines the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by placing burdensome requirements on individuals with disabilities, making it more difficult for them to access equal rights protections. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 225-192.

According to the Hawaii Disability Rights Center, 15 percent of Hawai‘i residents are disabled – higher than the national average. The National Federation for the Blind of Hawai‘i also reported that Hawai‘i is home to roughly 22,700 people with a visual disability, who would be disproportionately burdened by the hurdles enacted by H.R. 620.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “For more than 25 years, the ADA has been instrumental in expanding and protecting fair, equal opportunities for disabled Americans. H.R. 620 unravels this progress, making it easier for employers to skirt around discrimination laws and requiring people with disabilities to jump through hoops for the equal access protections to which they are entitled. I’ve heard from many community organizations in Hawai‘i that shared how this legislation would hurt our more than 210,000 disabled residents. I stand with them in strong opposition to this harmful legislation.”

National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii said, “The leaders and members of the National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii strongly oppose H. R. 620, the so-called ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Education and Reform Act.  If this bill becomes law, it will diminish the rights of blind people by eroding the foundation of the ADA. Passed with strong bi-partisan support and signed into law by president George H. W. Bush in 1990, the ADA assures that all Americans with disabilities have the right to live free from exclusion and discrimination in any way in American society.  The ADA ensures that anyone with a disability can enjoy the benefits of living in our free and open state and country alongside all other citizens.  In short, the ADA is the persons with disabilities equality act, which must not be diminished in either its force or effect.  We call upon everyone in Hawai‘i and throughout the U. S. to join us in opposing H.R. 620, which is a deceptive attempt to repeal the ADA.” 

Aloha State Association of the Deaf said, “Aloha State Association of the Deaf strongly opposes this bill because it will affect Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing citizens of Hawai‘i.”

Special Olympics Hawaii said, “Special Olympics strongly supports legislation that guarantees the rights, full participation, and integration of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). We appreciate the progress that has been made towards eliminating the stigma, stereotypes, isolation, and discrimination that people with intellectual disabilities face – most importantly around access to sport, health, and education. We ask Congress to remain vigilant against any erosion of any provisions that have made a substantial difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”

H.R. 620 is opposed by numerous civil rights, disability rights, and other organizations including AARP, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP,  Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Association of Justice (AAJ), ACLU, AFSCME, National Disability Rights Network, American Association of People with Disabilities, National Council of Disability, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Easterseals, National Foundation of the Blind, and United Cerebral Palsy.

Background:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has long called for expanding federal protections against discrimination on the basis of national origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, gender, or race. She is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would add sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to the list of protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. H.R. 2282 would expand federal protections to end discrimination in public accommodations, state and local government services, public education, federal financial assistance, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is also a cosponsor of H.R.1734 and H.R. 1772, which will increase access to technology, education, and employment opportunities for blind individuals, and H.R. 1377, which phases out subminimum wages for workers with disabilities.

 

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Supports Bill to Fund Veteran Treatment Courts in Hawai’i, Nationwide

“This legislation is an example of some of the long overdue reforms needed in our criminal justice system, and honors our veterans and their sacrifice by providing them with the care and treatment they need”

Hilo Veterans Day Parade Participants. Pictured above are some team members of the Big Island Veteran’s Treatment Court

February 13, 2018 Press Release
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the Congressional Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, announced support today for bipartisan legislation to authorize federal funding for veteran treatment courts in Hawai‘i and across the United States. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act (H.R. 4345) would provide federal grants to state, local, and tribal governments to establish new veteran treatment courts and maintain current programs, like the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court. More than 15,000 veterans nationwide have received support through veteran treatment courts.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:
“In Hawai‘i and across the country, veteran treatment courts are helping veterans who are dealing with substance addiction and have committed nonviolent crimes get treatment and get their lives back on track. Through high-intensity supervision and a network of support that includes veteran-to-veteran mentorship, job and housing support, employment assistance, treatment and counseling, and more, veteran treatment courts are ensuring that they get the care and services needed to heal, and putting them on a path to success. I’ve met veterans in Hawai’i who have graduated from this program, and who tearfully share how this program has literally saved their lives. This legislation is an example of some of the long overdue reforms needed in our criminal justice system, and honors our veterans and their sacrifice by providing them with the care and treatment they need.”

Background:

The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2017 establishes a program within the Department of Justice to provide grants, training, and technical assistance to help state, local, and tribal governments maintain existing veterans treatment courts. The bipartisan legislation also provides federal resources for the establishment of new treatment courts.

H.R. 4345, the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2017 is endorsed by numerous servicemembers and veterans organizations including American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, National Military & Veterans Alliance, American Logistics Association, American Military Retirees Association, American Military Society, American and Navy Union of the USA, American Retiree Association, Association of the US Navy, Military Order of Foreign Wars Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Order of World Wars, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, The Flag and General Officers Network, The Independence Fund, The Retired Enlisted Association, Society of Military Widows, Vietnam Veterans of America.

 

Proposal to Deport H-1B Visa Holders Seeking Permanent Residency Stopped by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Kevin Yoder’s Bipartisan Push

Washington, DC—On January 5, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard(D), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, and Rep. Kevin Yoder(R), a member of the Caucus, sent a letter to President Trump urging his Administration to reject a proposal to deport H-1B holders awaiting permanent residency processing. Soon after, along with mounting pressure from business, technology, and government leaders, the Trump Administration has reportedly backed off from the counterproductive proposal. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), and Kevin Yoder (KS-03), today released the following statement.

The United States grants 85,000 H-1B visas every year to highly skilled applicants, including roughly 70 percent for Indians, seeking employment and educational opportunities. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than half of privately-held companies worth $1 billion or more in the United States had at least one immigrant founder – with many having come to America on an H-1B visa, including the CEOs of both Microsoft and Google.

“H-1B visa holders, many of whom become small business owners and job creators, drive innovation and help build and strengthen our U.S. economy,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. “The Trump Administration’s decision to back off this counterproductive proposal is a positive step forward.  While it remains a priority to invest in training and create a pipeline of skilled American workers, we must continue to leverage the talent and expertise of the hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa holders to fill the gaps in our domestic workforce.”

“I have seen personally how high-skilled immigrants have helped my community and so many others across the country by filling critical labor shortages in specific industries, preventing employers from fleeing overseas to fill them,” said Congressman Kevin Yoder, member of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.“Plus, many of these immigrants hope to eventually start their own businesses and create new jobs here in the United States. These are the people who have helped America grow and thrive as a nation of immigrants and we need to make sure our system continues to value those who are following our laws and doing the right thing.”

Alok Madasani, an H1B visa holder and survivor of last year’s shooting in Olathe, Kansas, said, “America has provided me and many hundreds of thousands of folks on H1-B an opportunity to further our careers after education. America also taught us that if you are determined and hard working and follow the established process, there are opportunities for everyone. There are folks who moved here decades ago and have kids going to school here, the place they call home. Every process can be improved continuously for maximum output and current H-1B process can also be improved but eliminating it on a whole affects much larger audience. I’m grateful the administration has reconsidered these changes to H-1B extensions for folks with pending green card applications and I appreciate Representatives Yoder and Gabbard’s efforts to help us and our families continue staying together here in USA and continue contributing to the society.”

 

Background:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard cosponsored H.R. 392, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, introduced by Congressman Yoder. This bipartisan legislation would remove the existing per-country cap on employment-based green cards and ensure all immigrants are treated equally regardless of their country of origin.

Understanding H-1B Visas
by Todd Sumlin tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

Among those applying to use the visa workers are companies that have been awarded millions of dollars in state grants under agreements to create jobs in Charlotte and elsewhere.

Indeed, the tech industry and some lawmakers were stunned last week to learn the administration was considering a measure that would prevent hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card applications were pending. The possible change, part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative promised during the 2016 campaign, would reinterpret discretion given to the administration under the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act.

Reps. Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican, and Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, sent a letter to Trump, obtained by McClatchy, urging him “not to deport H-1B holders awaiting permanent residency processing.”

“We strongly believe this action would be harmful to the American economy, credibility, and relations with India and the Indian-American community,” wrote Yoder and Gabbard on Friday. Both are members of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned it would be “tremendously bad policy” to tell highly skilled people they are not welcome to stay in the United States.

And the Indian tech industry, backed up by the Indian government, quickly began to mobilize. Groups that represent Indian companies and workers — such as the National Association of Software and Services Companies, Immigration Voice and Compete America — started deploying lobbyists and other representatives at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to argue against possible regulatory changes that could prevent foreign tech industry workers from keeping their visas longer than six years, according to U.S. and India-based industry sources and worker advocates familiar with the plans.

“Nobody’s happy with it,” said an industry source. “Everyone’s trying to figure out exactly what’s going on and also trying to explain to the administration, if they’re thinking of doing this, it’s a horrible idea and these are the reasons why.”

Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and L. Francis Cissna, the director of the USCIS, have long worked to clamp down on the program. Before the White House, Miller worked for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama who during the 2016 campaign raised the idea of ending the H-1B program. (Sessions is now Trump’s attorney general.)
Read more @ http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article81625232.html

 

Two More Members of Congress Sign On to Tulsi Gabbard’s #OffFossilFuels Act!

From #TeamTulsi
Tulsi Gabbard is leading the charge for transitioning the United States away from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2035, as natural disasters and careless exploitation of our environment continue to leave thousands of Americans without homes, food, and clean water. 

In the wake of catastrophic hurricanes, massive wildfires, and the increase of man-made disasters, the push to implement the congresswoman’s groundbreaking legislation, H.R. 3671, the OFF Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act continues to gain widespread support. Joining the bill’s list of cosponsors this week are Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Zoe Lofgren.

Along with a growing list of over 300 national, state, and local groups who are calling for Congress to pass the bill, the OFF Act is also rallying support from Food & Water WatchProgressive Democrats of AmericaNational Nurses UnitedOur RevolutionPhysicians for Social ResponsibilityFriends of the Earth, and Center for Biological Diversity. As more and more Americans suffer the consequences of destructive environmental crises brought on by greedy fossil fuel companies, it has never been more obvious than now more than ever, our planet needs healing.

 

Since she was a teenager, Tulsi Gabbard has been passionate about surfing, environmental education, and protecting our oceans and natural resources. She has been a strong advocate for reformative legislation that puts the planet first (not profits!) and has a history of standing up to fight for real change. Joining her fellow veterans in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline last December, Gabbard has consistently warned of the enormous dangers fossil fuel companies have imposed on the citizens of our country.

If we want to protect our wildlife and stop the destruction of our ecosystems, we must demand that Congress pass Tulsi Gabbard’s OFF Fossil Fuels for A Better Future Act to prevent the continued use of our environment as a dumping ground. In light of a recent 672,000 gallon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last week that is the worst of its kind since the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010 when 4.9 million barrels contaminated beaches, wetlands, and estuaries and killed eleven people were killed, the congresswoman had this to say:

“If we are going to preserve our planet for ourselves and future generations, we need to move off of fossil fuels to sustainable energy. We can achieve this by passing the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (HR 3671), which puts our country on a path to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2035. By making renewable energy a top priority, we can add millions of new US jobs and secure a brighter future for our people and planet.”

 

Join our citizen based Facebook group to promote the #OffFossilFuels for a better future! 

 
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