[VIDEO] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Securing America’s Elections Act to Ensure Integrity of 2018 Elections

March 1, 2018 Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today introduced legislation to protect the country’s election infrastructure from cyber-hackers by requiring the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections. It authorizes emergency funding to empower every state to use voter-verified paper ballots that produce an auditable paper trail, beginning with the 2018 elections. It also addresses the need to ensure safe and secure software is utilized in voting machines on Election Day.

The Securing America’s Elections Act expands on progress made in Hawai‘i and 14 other states that currently produce voter-verified paper ballots to provide the American people with a secure, reliable, and independent record of their votes.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 21 U.S. states’ electoral systems faced attempted hacking in the 2016 election. Shortly after, at the world’s longest-running and largest hacking conference, DEFCON revealed startling cyber vulnerabilities in US election infrastructure: hackers easily breached every piece of election equipment, some in mere minutes. Participants with limited prior hacking knowledge and few tools and resources were able to undermine and manipulate the privacy, integrity, and accessibility of election equipment – most of which is still widely used in state and local elections today. Following these revelations from DEFCON, states like Virginia took action and switched to a voter-verified paper ballot system in their 2017 election to ensure voter integrity and confidence in their elections infrastructure. They produced the highest voter turnout in two decades.  However, serious vulnerabilities remain in most states.

Video of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Speech on the House Floor is Available Here

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard questioned top homeland security, cybersecurity, and Virginia elections officers on the integrity of the nation’s voting machines.

 

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“The Department of Homeland Security reported that 21 state electoral systems were targeted in the 2016 election, revealing serious vulnerabilities and threatening the integrity of our elections. Soon after, at DEFCON, the world’s largest hacking conference, hackers breached every piece of election equipment, some within mere minutes. We cannot ignore these vulnerabilities that erode voter confidence and expose our election’s infrastructure to manipulation by adversaries. With 2018 elections quickly approaching, Congress must act now and work with states to safeguard our electoral infrastructure and ensure that each and every American vote is counted faithfully and accurately.

“The Securing America’s Elections Act will ensure our elections are hack-proof by providing the American people with an auditable, reliable, paper record of their votes in time for the 2018 elections. It will also begin to address the effectiveness and security of our voting machine software. This is critical to renew our citizens’ faith in the electoral process.”

Brian Fox, Board Member, National Association of Voting Officials, said, “We are pleased to see Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard leading the country toward safe and secure election systems. The open source software language in her legislation, in addition to the necessary paper ballot component, will give appropriate security direction to the nation’s election officials. Congresswoman Gabbard is appreciated as a  pioneer advocating the science of protecting our democracy.”  

 

Background:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Securing America’s Elections Act would ensure an auditable and secure record of every American’s vote by:

  • Requiring the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections that if needed, can be audited and counted by hand, optical scanner, or similar device.  

  • Allowing voters to verify their ballot and correct any errors before their permanent paper ballot is preserved for official records.  

  • Establishing voter-verified paper ballots as the correct record of the total votes cast, in the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities between electronic and paper vote tallies.

  • Authorizing emergency funding for states to meet the costs of ensuring paper ballots/paper ballot backups by the 2018 federal elections.

  • Studying the effectiveness and security of using open-source electronic voting software, which could potentially provide additional security and lower costs of upgrading our nation’s election infrastructure.

In an Oversight and Government Reform Hearing, Edgardo Cortés, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, confirmed the lack of public confidence and vulnerabilities of existing voting systems in the state of Virginia and across the country. Following these revelations of vulnerable election equipment at DEFCON, Virginia switched to a voter-verified paper ballot system before the 2017 election. The Virginia Department of Elections didn’t receive a single complaint questioning the integrity of the 2017 election and produced the highest voter turnout in two decades.

Asked by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the decision to transition to a voter-verified paper ballot election system, Edgardo Cortés, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections said, “When it came down to the final decision about what to do with the equipment, our biggest consideration was if there was some issue reported on Election Day, would we have the confidence to go out and tell our voters that the results from the machines were accurate and that we could confirm that. I think that ultimately, we determined, in consultation with our wonderful staff at the state IT agency and their assessment, that we wouldn’t be in a position to do that with the equipment that we were using. Without that independent verification, that paper ballot, there would be no way to do that. I think that ultimately was the moment that decertification moved forward, and we decided to have paper ballots state-wide for this past November.”

 

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 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.”

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Send Federal Aid to Hurricane Victims, and Ensure the Government Remains Open

Yesterday Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) voted for H.R. 601, which provides over $15 billion in emergency federal aid to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and other extreme weather events throughout the country. This funding ensures FEMA can provide immediate emergency response and relief as well as longer-term recovery efforts. The bill also extends the federal debt limit and ensures that the government remains open and able to deliver services until December 8, 2017.

“National tragedies like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma test our country’s resolve. With today’s funding bill, Congress came together, putting the American people before partisanship and politics, to support the emergency response and recovery efforts serving the people most affected by these disasters. Since Hurricane Harvey hit, we have seen the aloha spirit coming from people all across the country who have turned out to support those struggling in the wake of this disaster. We are reminded that when one part of the country faces adversity, our nation comes together and perseveres. In the last week, we have witnessed compassion from neighbors, bravery from first responders, and responsiveness from public institutions. As communities in Texas and Louisiana begin the process of recovery and renewal, the entire country sends its thoughts, prayers, and support to the people of the Caribbean and Florida who are dealing with Hurricane Irma,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

 

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  

 
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