U.S. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard split votes in the 332-94 vote today that passed a two-year budget deal crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). 

The legislation won the support of 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats,” according to this report in POLITICO. “It now heads to the Senate, where it will likely pass next week. President Barack Obama signaled he would sign the bill into law.”

Gabbard called the deal “a modest step in the right direction” though “far from perfect.” But in a statement she also expressed worry:

I am still very concerned about some of the arbitrary budget cuts that remain in place, and certain provisions of this bill that will unfairly burden inter-island travelers and people in Hawaii. In particular, the significant hike in the Aviation Passenger Security Fee is harmful because so many of our residents rely on air travel to get to work, access healthcare, and visit loved ones on other islands.

Gabbard said she is working on a exemption to the travel hike.

Hanabusa opposed the compromise bill, though earlier this week she congratulated Ryan and Murphy on their work. She said in a statement today, “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.”

Hanabusa continued:

“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.

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


Photo: U.S Capitol in the rain. (Ron Cogswell)

—Chad Blair