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  • — by William Cole, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
    Hawaii will receive $3.1 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to help detect and prevent potential COVID-19 outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness and prison populations, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said Friday. “As Hawaii experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, we can’t leave vulnerable communities behind in our efforts to stop the spread of this virus,” Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a news...
  • — by John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
    On Friday’s 100th anniversary of the signing into law of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act by President Warren G. Harding, the “groundbreaking legacy” of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole — champion of the law intended to provide homes for Native Hawaiians — was celebrated. “Whether it’s improving Native Hawaiian housing, health care or education, Prince Kuhio’s work, his legacy of justice for Native Hawaiians, lives on. It’s alive in...
  • — by Anita Hofschneider, Honolulu Civil Beat
    When Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz took the reins of the Indian Affairs Committee in February, he found out that its staffers were making less money than any other Senate committee. The realization underscored how little clout the Indian Affairs Committee had in the Senate and the challenge of getting Congress to prioritize Indigenous issues. Schatz raised the salaries and hired more staff. But his ambitions are a lot bigger. “The way I look at the work we’re doing is to try to understand...
  • — by Ben Leonard, Politico
    Congress appears poised to let millions of Medicare recipients continue to video chat with their doctors after the pandemic is over. A set of telemedicine policies the Trump administration adopted during lockdowns is emerging as an unexpected bipartisan rallying point as lawmakers begin to weigh life after Covid-19. The coverage policies are due to lapse once the health emergency ends, which could limit telehealth payments to rural providers and doctors with existing relationships with...
  • — by John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
    Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would accelerate the federal Bureau of Prisons’ approval process for compassionate release during a public health emergency. Schatz’s Emergency GRACE Act also would provide $50 million for state prison systems to increase their facilities’ testing for the novel coronavirus, plus the use of compassionate release and elderly or medical parole. “People who are eligible for compassionate release are the...
  • — by Susan Essoyan, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
    With student loans spiraling upward, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is sponsoring the Debt-Free College Act, which aims to ensure low-income students can attend public colleges without going into debt. “There’s something wrong with a society that says it values higher education but then punishes you for pursuing it,” Schatz said in an interview. Student debt in the United States soared to $1.7 trillion last year, more than three times what it was in 2006, according to the Federal...
  • — by Nick Grube, Honolulu Civil Beat
    WASHINGTON — Native communities across the country are facing the brunt of climate change, whether it’s drought in the West or coral bleaching off the coast of Hawaii. That’s why Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Democratic chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, wanted to hear from Indigenous leaders themselves about the challenges they face as the planet warms and what the federal government can do to help them adapt. During a hearing Wednesday Schatz said that he intends to...
  • — by Cheryl Tsutsumi, Ka Wai Ola
    Hawai‘i will receive at least $1.7 billion as part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package approved by Congress on December 27. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) will manage $32.4 million of that money, including $30 million for broadband-related activities such as telehealth, tele-education, mapping and infrastructure. It will also oversee disbursements of an additional $2.4 million to help qualified applicants pay for rent, utilities, security deposits and other...
  • — by Richard Borreca, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
    Hawaii’s senior U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz can appreciate the benefits of being on the winning side. It may be a microscopic majority with Vice President Kamala Harris available to break ties in favor of the Democrats, but it counts that good things are going to faithful up-and-comers like Schatz. In the last two months, the 48-year-old Makiki Democrat has become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, and the chairman...
  • — by Nick Grube, Honolulu Civil Beat
    Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is back home stumping for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package while at the same time encouraging island residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Schatz appeared on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii program Wednesday to discuss what money might be headed Hawaii’s way should Democrats succeed in passing Biden’s ambitious spending plan that Republicans largely oppose. One of the highlights of...
  • — by Nick Grube, Honolulu Civil Beat
    WASHINGTON — Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz’s office announced Monday that he will be the head of an appropriations subcommittee focused on transportation, housing and urban development. The news highlights what it means for the Aloha State when Democrats are in power in Washington. Schatz will now have even more influence over how federal dollars are spent when it comes to addressing homelessness and public transit, both of which are major issues in the islands. “We need to rethink...
  • — by Nina Wu, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has mobilized a team of health care professionals to help contain a COVID-19 outbreak at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz earlier this week made an urgent request for assistance from the VA as more cases and deaths were reported at the nursing home. The first coronavirus-related death at the home was recorded Aug. 29, and an eighth resident died on Monday, while the majority of the home’s 74...
  • — by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
    For Hawaii, another day with more than 300 COVID-19 cases. So, what should we do, and where did we go wrong? First, our obsession with the “border” at the airport distracted us from building the public health awareness and infrastructure that will help us to get through this. We seemed, all of us, from the media to the politicians to the citizens who elected them, more interested in whether or not an individual scofflaw from the mainland was violating the quarantine than whether or...
  • — by Marianne LeVine & Burgess Everett, Politico
    Brian Schatz is no household name. But he's already positioning himself as an influential figure in the 2020 presidential race — someone who can unite the party around a shared agenda even if the primary inevitably turns ugly. Schatz, the senior senator from Hawaii, says he is eager to help Democrats avoid “that whole stupid, unproductive, toxic debate” of 2016, when voters were seemingly forced to choose between Bernie Sanders’ bold-but-vague proposals and Hillary...
  • — by Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed
    A college education typically is out of reach for people who are in prison, and even formerly incarcerated students often face questions about their past in the admissions process. Senator Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, wants to remove those restrictions for students who have been involved with the criminal justice system. He is spearheading bills that would restore Pell Grants for incarcerated students and encourage colleges to drop admissions questions about applicants’ criminal...
  • — by Sarah Kliff and Jeff Stein , Vox
    August 22 — Democrats are ready to go on the health care offensive. And Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) may have a new plan for them to do it. In an interview with Vox, Schatz revealed that he’s preparing a new bill that could grant more Americans the opportunity to enroll in Medicaid by giving states the option to offer a "buy-in" to the government program on Obamacare's exchanges. His proposal would expand the public health insurance program from one that covers only low-income...
  • — by David Pittman, Politico Pro
    Legislation to expand Medicare reimbursement of telemedicine could be attached to an end-of-the-year bill such as a continuing resolution to fund the government, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz told supporters today. “I think we have an opportunity in the next three months to actually get something done in one of the must-pass vehicles,” said Schatz, speaking at a luncheon hosted by ACT — the App Association. Schatz has championed the CONNECT for Health Act (S. 2484), which...
  • — by Dean Scott, Bloomberg BNA
    Aug. 10 — Hillary Clinton is surging not only in national polls but also in key swing states—and that is good news for a bloc of Senate Democrats who hope to put climate change back on the front burner and fill a vacuum of leadership triggered by the departure of once-towering Senate figures on the global warming issue. Control of the Senate was already up for grabs, given Republicans who now hold a 54–46 majority must defend 24 seats; Democrats are defending only 10. Clinton,...
  • — by Editorial Board, The Washington Post
    THIS SUMMER, for the first time in 22 years, 12,000 prison inmates can use federal funding to take college courses — a change that could ease their transition to civilian life and reduce the chances they will commit crimes again upon release. A two-page bill in the Houseand Senate would offer the same opportunity to hundreds of thousands more. In 1994, Congress banned Pell Grants for prisoners. The rule remains in place, but last year the Obama...
  • — by Ron Klain, The Wall Street Journal
    Florida health officials have identified 10 more cases of locally transmitted Zika in the Miami area. That means, as of Monday, there are 14 known cases of the virus caused by mosquitoes in the continental U.S. That’s not counting thehundreds of such cases in Puerto Rico. And Zika won’t stop there. Soon, more babies with Zika-related microcephaly will arrive in hospitals, facing a horrible fate and expensive treatment. Recently I wrote about why Washington...