Bill to Provide Hawaiʻi with Funding for Floriculture Research introduced by Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa

– Editors note : The funding is for plant breeding, not for GMO’s.–

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) have introduced the State Assistance for Tropical Floriculture Research Act of 2018 (H.R. 5066) to support floriculture research and development in Hawaiʻi and across the United States. The bill would authorize grants of a minimum of $250,000 annually for selected states to research and develop new and disease resistant varieties of tropical flowers. Hawaiʻi’s floriculture and nursery productsincluding cut flowers, orchids, lei flowers, potted flowering plants, and moreare estimated to be valued at $74.5 million.  

“Floriculture remains one of our most profitable agricultural sectors in Hawaiʻi, supporting hundreds of growers and processors across our islands. The global floriculture market is becoming increasingly competitive, and we must support and empower our local growers.  We also must ensure that our unique flora is protected from invasive species, diseases, and other threats. Our legislation will create opportunities for Hawaiʻi to lead the nation in floriculture research and development now, and for years to come,” 
said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“The floriculture and nursery community in Hawaiʻi is an important part of our agriculture industry and serves a global marketplace. The variety and colors of the flowers grown here coupled with the reliable supply created by our hard working growers attracts foreign and domestic customers, helping to showcase Hawaiʻi to the world,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. “We need to support and help diversify our agriculture industry and this bill would help finance important floriculture research. The University of Hawaiʻi’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) regularly works with the Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association and the State Department of Agriculture on research and programs and it is important to support that type of collaboration in Hawaiʻi and around the country.”

“The Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association (HFNA) appreciates Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s effort to establish a grant program for research and development of disease resistant varieties of tropical flowers and plants. By directing the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to State departments of agriculture for this purpose will allow our industry to be more competitive and resilient in the global marketplace,” said Eric Tanouye, Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association president.

 

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! 

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Leads the OFF Act to End America’s Reliance on Fossil Fuels and Transition the Country to a Clean Energy Economy by 2035

Washington, DC—Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) recently introduced H.R. 3671, the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act), which will put the United States on a pathway to replace fossil fuels with 100 percent clean energy generation and use by 2035. This legislation eliminates tax giveaways to the fossil fuel industry, and provides support to transitioning workers who will be impacted by this generational change.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s bill builds on progress made in Hawai‘i and other states that have committed to address the climate change crisis head on and do everything possible to transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy. The OFF Act continues this progress and sets an ambitious timeline to cut carbon emissions by ending America’s reliance on fossil fuels by 2035 in order to avert some of the most devastating impacts of climate change. Transitioning to clean energy will stimulate our economy, support our working men and women, and protect our environment.  It will increase our competitiveness by investing in clean energy technologies, jobs, and training programs. Additionally, it will improve the health and well-being of the American people and our planet from toxic pollutants, asthma and respiratory illnesses, and environmental degradation.

Congresswoman Gabbard’s OFF Act is currently supported by environmental advocates and original co-sponsors including Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), and Keith Ellison (MN-05) and has been endorsed by over 100 clean energy, climate change, and environmental justice organizations.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Stated:

“Through extreme weather events, dramatically rising sea levels, negative impacts on our environment, and record high temperatures, we continue to see the devastating consequences of climate change. My home state of Hawai‘i has experienced this directly through record-breaking sea levels, high surf that has eroded land beneath homes and made roads impassable, and rising ocean temperatures that have dramatically altered marine life and destroyed our coral reefs. Hawai‘i has led by example as the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent clean energy goal.  It’s long past time for the federal government to take action for the sake of our people, our planet, and our future.

“All across the country, industrial cities, coastal communities, and urban neighborhoods have been most impacted by the negative effects of years of pollution, stagnating wages, and unemployment. These communities are being hardest hit by increases in illness and disease, economic hardship, and food shortages. Twenty-first century problems demand twenty-first century solutions. By investing in green technologies and ending corporate hand outs to the fossil fuel industry, we can grow the economy, create good jobs, and protect our environment. The promise of a clean energy economy is one of skilled, good-paying jobs, advanced and sustainable infrastructure, and clean and safe neighborhoods.

“The transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy will not be easy. We must work together to address the challenges we face by listening to people in all sectors of the economy to build the path forward that will help our country end our dependence on fossil fuels and build a bridge to a clean energy future. It will take a commitment from both the public and private sector to work with energy companies, utilities, and transportation and industrial businesses to deploy the energy technologies that will transform our existing energy infrastructure today, while developing cutting edge solutions in the decades leading up to 2035. If the federal government does not act now and bring people together to solve this challenge, we will fail to protect future generations of Americans from the devastating economic and environmental consequences of climate change.

“We must do all we can to end our addiction to fossil fuels and deploy the technologies that will put America on the path toward a clean, sustainable energy future today and in the years to come. I call on my fellow lawmakers, and all Americans, to support the OFF Act to protect the people and our planet by committing to a 100 percent clean energy economy.”

State and national organizations supporting the OFF Act had the following to say:

“Rep. Gabbard is a leader in the environmental movement and we are grateful for her leadership on this important issue. Climate change disproportionately affects the poor and communities of color and we must fight for climate justice for all those who are harmed by fossil fuels and industrial pollution. We need every member of Congress to sign onto this, and all legislation, that seeks to protect our land, air, and water for generations yet unborn.” – Sen. Nina Turner, President, Our Revolution

Progressive Democrats of America is proud to strongly support Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s groundbreaking climate justice bill, the Off Fossil Fuels for a Healthy Future Act.  As caretakers and protectors of our planet for future generations, we need standards that rise to the severity of the climate emergency.  Rep. Gabbard’s bill moves us ever closer to the kind of climate justice that must be achieved with a sense of urgency and clarity.”  – Donna Smith, Executive Director, Progressive Democrats of America

“Environmental Justice and Climate Justice communities and workers deserve better and more than an economy that continues to dig, burn, and dump in their backyard in spite of extreme climate threats. It is time to wake up as a nation and come together to set a visionary Just Transition away from fossil fuels that are polluting our neighborhoods, Tribal territories, and are leading to levels of CO2 that are already creating climate catastrophe for those at the frontlines in the US and the Global South.  We need greater reinvestments and sustainable control of energy by communities, viable opportunities for workers, and a plan to move away from market-based solutions and corporate subsidies that reward dangerous behavior by the very industries that are suppose to meet our needs.  We thank Rep. Gabbard for being a trailblazer in supporting a vision for a future we can all thrive in.” – Angela Adrar, Executive Director, The Climate Justice Alliance

“Firm science shows that to have any reasonable chance of avoiding climate chaos, we must transition away from fossil fuels immediately and aggressively. Much progress needs to be made in the next decade, and the transition must be complete by 2035. Congress Member Gabbard’s Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act would mandate this rapid energy revolution, and we’re proud to be working with her to move this critical legislation forward. This bill is the strongest, most ambitious climate and energy legislation ever introduced, but more importantly, it’s the only bill that sufficiently addresses the climate crisis we face.” – Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food and Water Watch

“The crises of climate change and economic inequality are intertwined, and must be solved in tandem. The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act does just that, creating jobs, cleaning up the environment in the most impacted communities, and taking the bold action needed to avert climate catastrophe.” – Jordan Estevao, Senior Strategist, People’s Action Institute

“The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act is a bold and necessary federal action that rightly connects our nationwide dependence on dirty energy to economic stagnation, public health threats, and pointless environmental degradation. Climate change is here, and we simply can’t remain wedded to the old ways, ways that never worked for the most vulnerable among us. This bill puts justice at the center and provides a timely roadmap for an affordable, livable, and equitable future.” – Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Executive Director, Maryland Environmental Health Network

“We are entering a climate emergency with grave effects on public health and safety and the future of society as a whole. The urgency of the need for this legislation couldn’t be more clear to direct care nurses who deal with the human fallout of fossil fuel pollution and its effects on the planet. NNU members stand united with our communities and the climate justice movement in support of this bill.”- Jean Ross, RN, Co-President, National Nurses United

“Many of the same activities which are a threat to the climate are also a threat to human health. Auto exhaust specifically has been identified by the Institute of Medicine and other groups as probably contributing to the increased risk of breast cancer. By requiring a shift to zero-emission vehicles and putting a moratorium on new major fracking and dangerous drilling projects, the OFF Act will help protect public health and reduce exposures to chemicals that may increase the risk of breast cancer.” – Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Action

“The race to a 100 percent fossil fuel free existence is one that we cannot afford to lose. This race is further challenged by variables that contribute to and exacerbate climate disruption; racial, economic, ethnic and gender/gender ID injustice. The OFF act is a proactive tool to assist us in completing this race efficaciously, while removing insouciant approaches to uplifting and protecting our most marginalized communities and populations. Further, OFF’s approach to ensuring protection for workers who will be displaced as we rapidly wean ourselves off fossil fuels highlights the difference between a Just Transition and just a transition. We need to  bust single issue silos and approach the climate crisis through an intersectional lens, OFF comprehends this idea and moves us in the right direction towards forging and sustaining a massive and inclusive movement.” – Anthony Rogers-Wright, US Coordinator, The Leap

“It is time for the United States to break free from its addiction to extreme energy. Science and traditional Indigenous knowledge knows that the only direct way to do that is a rapid just transition to sustainable, renewable energy. It’s time for us as human beings, to get back into balance with Mother Earth and Father Sky.” – Dallas Goldtooth, Campaigner, Keep It In The Ground Campaign, Indigenous Environmental Network

“The DER Council applauds Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s support for a clean energy economy and a fossil-free future for our Country.  Once again, Hawaii leads the way for renewables.” –  Leslie Cole-Brooks, Executive Director, Distributed Energy Resources Council of Hawaii

“Rep. Gabbard’s Energy proposal is an in-depth and comprehensive plan to move the US into an economically strong, culturally inclusive global leadership position on energy.  This bill properly addresses Environmental Justice, sustainability, indigenous rights, and respect for other countries and people impacted by the fossil fuel appetite of the US. Now more than ever America needs to step up and again commit to the elimination of fossil fuels for the benefit of future generations.  Mahalo Tulsi!” – Bob King, President, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies

“Clean energy is our future. Setting a 100% renewable energy policy ensures that America does not cede that future to other countries. When Hawaii set a goal for 100% renewable energy it was at first viewed as impossible and then accepted as aspirational. Today, the utility plans to achieve the goal five years ahead of schedule at a cost that is billions of dollars less than using fossil fuel energy. Building our clean energy future helps create an economy that supports us while protecting a planet that sustains us. Blue Planet Foundation applauds Congresswoman Gabbard’s leadership on this critical issue. Establishing a target for 100% clean energy for America is the vision we need today for a sustainable tomorrow. It’s time for America to make that commitment to future generations that we are serious about solving our climate crisis.” – Jeffrey Mikulina, Blue Planet Foundation  

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement On Trump Administration Decision To End DACA

September 5, 2017
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI -02) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard stated:

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.

“In my home state of Hawaii, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaii’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”

 
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