Op-Ed: In praise of Tulsi’s bipartisan approach
After President Obama last Friday signed into law Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) bill to make it easier for military and veterans to get through airport security screening, I have nothing but praise for the freshman congresswoman’s approach to legislating.
When Tulsi was elected last November, she told the media she intended to reach across the aisle and try to be a problem solver. Not only is getting a bill through Congress within her first eight months in the House a major achievement, to get unanimous agreement in both houses is almost unheard of these days.
Too many Members of Congress talk about bipartisanship but then try to curry favor with their party caucuses by bashing the other side, when they really should be spending their time building bridges, not tearing them down.
Because the U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by the Republicans, the House Transportation Security Committee’s chairman’s support was critical to getting Tulsi's bill through the committee and passing the House floor. She got it.
The measure requires the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs to work with the Transportation Security Administration on a new protocol to facilitate the airport screening of disabled veterans whose devices can set off alarms at TSA checkpoints.
Congresswoman Gabbard’s success shows that bipartisanship can work in Washington when there is good will on all sides. Even though Tulsi is a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee she has not spent her time attacking Republicans since going to Washington. She has shown that when one works with people in the spirit of tautua and alofa with a sincere desire to work on behalf of 'we the people', it is indeed possible for a bill to be passed without rancor or controversy.
Similarly, while I am now the senior Member of the Republican National Committee, I have avoided attacking President Obama or congressional Democrats for the very same reason Tulsi has concentrated on building friendships. If you run a Google search of my name along with the president’s, you won’t find any instances of me making negative statements about his administration, because we need everyone’s good will in Washington.
The veteran screening problem should have been taken care of long ago and I salute Tulsi for getting the job done so quickly. It ensures troops can return to life at home as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
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