Hawaii's Congressional Delegation Reacts to President's First Address

Hawaii's Congressional Delegation Reacts to President's First Address
Updated: Feb. 28, 2017 at 10:34 PM HST
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WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - President Donald Trump delivered his first address to Congress Tuesday night, urging lawmakers to put aside trivial fights and reach deals on immigration, tax reform, military spending and health care.

Hawaii's U.S. Senators say President Trump's call on the nation to come together was hypocritical.

"He said rhetorically, let's bring the country together -- and in the first month, he's issued executive orders that have spread fear and chaos throughout the country," said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono. 
"The speech that was written for the President was conventional in terms of Republican policies, but the actions of this administration in its early days have been radical and reckless," U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement.

All four of Hawaii's democratic congress members were there in the audience listening for policy hints that could affect our state's biggest economic drivers.

Critics say the President's travel ban, which was blocked in the courts, triggered lasting fears among foreigners. As President Trump promises another version of his travel ban in the future, some worry the uncertainty will affect tourism in Hawaii.

"We don't know what else he is going to impose in terms of travel restrictions," Hirono said.

When the President started talking about military spending, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa's ears perked up.

He promised the largest increases in national defense spending in American history -- $54-billion -- by getting rid of the spending caps set in 2011. Hanabusa says she's pleased the President wants to invest in defense, but she's concerned domestic programs will be drastically cut to pay for it.

"As much as Hawaii is very dependent on military spending and the military presence, it would mean that areas like education will have to be cut. So the questions is -- how is he going to fund all of these?," said Hanabusa.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard says she was hoping the President would address the United States' role in the Syrian War.

"We're working very hard to bring voice to the devastation the Syrian people have been suffering," said Gabbard.