December 12th, 2013

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted against the bipartisan budget deal that cleared the House on Thursday in a 332 to 94 vote.

Hanabusa was one of just 32 Democrats to vote against the deal. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted `yes."

From Hanabusa:

While I thank my colleagues for coming together on a budget agreement, my core concern must be what is in the best interest of the people of Hawaii. Throughout my career serving our state, whenever I have faced a hard vote I have remained focused on my belief that government should keeps it promises. After reviewing the bill, I could not support it because it balances the budget on the backs of our kupuna, military retirees, federal employees, and families who cannot find work.

Several of the ways the bill pays for itself include extending the annual 2% sequester cuts on Medicare for an additional two years, requiring new federal workers to pay more toward their retirement, and reducing the retirement cost of living allowance for working-age military retirees.

Federal employees and retirees have already contributed nearly $114 billion toward deficit reduction in the form of pay freezes and increased pension contributions. It is unfair to ask them to do more.

Cutting the military retirement cost of living allowance also results in real financial losses to men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. For example, an Army Sergeant First Class (E-7) retiring this year with 20 years of service would see an average loss of over $3,700 per year by the time he or she reaches age 62 – a cumulative loss of nearly $83,000. For a Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), the average annual loss would be over $6,200 – a cumulative loss of over $124,000. All of that is also in blatant disregard of the guiding principles to the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC), which includes a grandfather clause to protect current retirees and service members from any changes to their retirement.

The budget bill also increases aviation passenger security fees, which disproportionately impact Hawaii residents on interisland flights.

On top of failing to do away with sequestration or close even one loophole for the super wealthy and corporations, the bill does nothing to extend emergency unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans, including more than 20,000 veterans and parents with children. In Hawaii, 1,900 residents will lose their emergency unemployment benefits on December 28 if the program is not extended, and there is an additional 5,800 beneficiaries in Hawaii who could be affected when their current unemployment insurance benefits are exhausted.

We must focus on reducing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that grows our economy, strengthens the middle class, and lifts sequestration.

13 Responses to “No”

  1. ohiaforest3400:

    This is the side of Hanabusa I was hoping to see. Curious how the "I'm-all-vet-all-the-time" Gabbard would justify her vote in support if the bill impacts retired military as described here. It will be interesting to see what happens with our Senate votes. Hirono has used the "keep our promises" narrative a lot in the past, especially with regard to Social Security, in the campaign against Lingle. What say you, Schatz?

  2. kamaaina808:

    @of3400 - Since I'm the curious type and don't rely on bloggers, etc. to feed me the news du jour, I did a quick check & thought you'd like to know that Rep. Gabbard has 2 press releases about this subject on her official House web page.

  3. kamaaina808:

    Shoot. Forgot to add that this budget deal was a compromise; neither party was 100% satisfied but heck, at least it's something 97% bipartisan for a change. I'm so sick of the gridlock in DC, so this was a real surprise.

  4. annsybl:

    This is one of the reasons why I support Colleen. She is not afraid to do what is unpopular but the right thing to do. As a retired veteran I am too am concerned about my pension, not to mention the effects on the working poor who are been squeezed out of the middle class a rapid rate. So right on Colleen. Stand firm.

  5. Kolea:

    There was no clear "good vote" on this bill. It would be child's play for any member of Congress, in either party, to construct a credible reason to oppose the bill. Hanabusa is facing a difficult race against Senator Schatz, which gives her reasons to try to distinguish herself in the hope her rationale for opposing this bill might convince some core Democratic constituencies that she is an unusually strong advocate for their interests. And her press release lists which specific groups she is targeting with her vote.

    There is nothing wrong with her vote, as she knew she had the freedom to make this symbolic statement without risking the sort of shutdown the Tea Party Republicans are willing to inflict on the country. So it was a political gesture. Tulsi's vote FOR the bill was nothing special either. She has made it clear she is uncomfortable about this approach to the federal budget.

    There is nothing to see here folks. Move on.

  6. Bobby Martin:

    Thanks for a legislator actually keeping their word. Every one of them says they support the military, I guess Colleen actually does. Every one of them says they support seniors, Colleen actually does.

    I'm sick of hearing people say this takes care of sequestration and prevents another shutdown. That is bull. This doesn't even get rid of half the cuts. Colleen is right in her vote, and Tulsi, as your constituent, you just lost mine.

  7. Goober:

    "Hanabusa Wins Dick Award" Sometimes the headlines just write themselves." Makes one worthy of this award.

  8. Sayer:

    What a relief our legislators are at least coming to enough of a consensus to prevent gridlock.

  9. ohiaforest3400:

    Mahalo, kamaaina808.

  10. Especially Incognito:

    The republicans and democrats are up for re-election and
    will calm their ways to get re-elected.
    It is questionable in reasoning why they
    are working together, when they could
    have passed years ago.. One being bent
    on where one was born, filled such with hot
    air and now they are just passing gas.

    Sounds like a wrestling match with all the hype
    and talk but actually they already planned their

  11. Hawai:

    Let find a way to stop Hawaiian MAFIA, DRUG HOUSE & SOME DEALERS I KNOW OF SOME BEEN IN BUSINESS 35+ years costing lives & billions find a legal way to stop them stronger drug laws it will help Hawaii

  12. Guy:

    This budget was a compromise. The alternative was more gridlock. Good thing other members of Congress did not vote like Hanabusa.

  13. Especially Incognito:

    The Senate will decide.

Leave a Reply