Maui Election

Hirono Hopes Votes will Help to Create Jobs

January 18, 2012, 6:08 PM HST
* Updated January 18, 6:31 PM
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Congresswoman Hirono (center) at Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Center. She was joined by Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (left), and Roy Yamaguchi, Board Member of Brand USA (right), in unveiling the Visit USA Act, aimed at boosting tourism and jobs in Hawaii . Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

The US House today considered legislation that would block the Obama Administration’s request to increase the US debt limit in order to pay for obligations incurred by the nation.

The bill passed in a 239-176 vote, but Rep. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, was among those who voted against the bill saying, “I just returned from Hawaii where people on every island I visited expressed their frustration and disappointment with Congress. They want us to focus on creating jobs, not continuing the debate from last summer on whether the United States should pay its financial obligations,” she said.

The bill, H.J.Res. 98, now advances to the US Senate for further consideration.  Similar legislation passed the House in September 2011 but was rejected in the Senate.

“For the sake of Americans everywhere looking for a job, let’s create opportunities to get more people back to work and boost our economy. That’s one of the best ways to reduce our deficit,” said Congresswoman Hirono.

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Hirono also backed a separate item recently, aimed at boosting tourism and jobs in Hawaii.  She joined colleague, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), in introducing the Visit USA Act, saying it could inject nearly $600 million into the local economy.

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The Visit USA Act, Hirono said, would allow Chinese visitors to have a 5-year multiple entry visa (instead of the current 1 year Visa) and enable the US State Department to use a video conferencing pilot program to help with visa interviews (alleviating the long wait times created by a limited number of consulates in China).

Hawaii Tourism officials have estimated that Hawaii could potentially see 6,000 new jobs created in the state as a result of the reforms in the Act.

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