CAPAC Members Meet with President Obama

Jul 23, 2013

Washington, DC – Today, 22 Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) met with President Barack Obama at the White House. The meeting covered immigration reform, increasing diversity among presidential appointments, improving language access in enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, and pressing issues impacting Native Hawaiians and the Pacific Island territories. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements folllowing the meeting:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: "Today’s meeting was very productive, and helped to reaffirm that we have both a partner and champion in President Obama. This meeting comes at a pivotal time for immigration reform, and I appreciate the President's receptiveness and willingness to address a number of concerns critical to the Asian Pacific American community, from immigration reform and presidential appointments to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. CAPAC is grateful to the President for all that he has done, and we look forward to continue working with him to ensure that our government represents the interests of all Americans."

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI): “I was pleased to have this opportunity to speak with President Obama about critical issues that are facing Hawaii, our country and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. During our group’s discussion, I asked the President to support Native Hawaiians, who are often overlooked when we talk about the AAPI community. The President committed to continue working closely with me and the rest of our Hawaii delegation on issues important to Native Hawaiians. He also committed to continue pushing for immigration reform – a mobilizing issue for the AAPI community.”

Senator Brian Schatz (HI): “During the meeting, President Obama showed his clear commitment to prioritizing key issues that are important to Hawai‘i and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, including passing comprehensive immigration reform in the House, federal action to ensure that Native Hawaiians have a government to government relationship, and diversity in the President’s cabinet. Today’s meeting marked an important step in a partnership between the President and Congress when advancing measures that will benefit Hawai‘i. I will continue to work with my CAPAC colleagues and the delegation to ensure that the people of Hawai‘i are heard in Washington, D.C.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair: “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with President Obama to personally address the importance of the Omnibus Territories Act. I thanked the President for his leadership on issues important to our Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities, and I requested the Administration’s support for this important bill. Among its many provisions, the bill will help to strengthen economies in the territories and promote energy efficiency. This meeting was an important step forward in addressing some of our most pressing concerns and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to advance CAPAC’s priorities in this Congress.”

Congresswoman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus and Immigration Taskforce Co-Chair: “President Obama has always been a leader for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and I greatly appreciate his willingness to hear our concerns on a large number of important issues facing us today.  He understands the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform, and I am confident that the diversity of the immigrant experience – particularly family reunification – will be respected when a bill is signed into law. ”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Whip: “Today’s meeting with President Obama further solidifies his commitment to the AAPI community and sends a clear message that his Administration is willing to continue to address the issues facing Asian Americans. While several key topics dominated the conversation, the President heard many of our concerns and understood our priorities. I thank the President for his time and his unwavering support, and look forward to continuing to work with his Administration on issues that matter most to Asian Americans.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07), CAPAC Health Taskforce Chair: “I appreciated President Obama meeting with me and my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) today. We were able to discuss some of my concerns about the Affordable Care Act and making sure that those who need health care can access it – including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who may have limited English speaking skills. As a doctor and co-chair of the CAPAC health care task force, I believe it’s crucial to make sure all Americans can get the health care they need. That also means we need to address the skyrocketing cost of health care to make it more affordable and sustainable.”

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08): “I appreciated President Obama’s time and consideration of CAPAC’s and the AAPI community’s priorities in our meeting earlier today. During today’s discussion, I spoke about the importance of the Administration and Congress’s continued work on issues of importance to the AAPI community, including comprehensive immigration reform. With the President’s support of a practical, fair and humane proposal, we will be able to advance the future success of AAPIs and our country.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02): “In our meeting with President Obama today, I appreciated the opportunity to highlight the concerns of Native Hawaiians, and critical issues facing our diverse communities in Hawai‘i. The President has been a strong ally of Asian American and Pacific Islanders across the country, and I’m encouraged by the dialogue we had today about the need for passing immigration legislation that includes family reunification measures. I look forward to continuing to work with the President and my CAPAC colleagues on issues like comprehensive immigration reform, Native Hawaiian recognition, and the reauthorization of the Native Hawaiian Education Act.”

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01): “As a Keiki O Ka Aina, President Obama understands the importance of Native Hawaiian recognition and what it means to our host culture. We know he will seriously consider our request to use his executive branch authority to achieve this elusive goal. Federal recognition of the Native Hawaiians right to self-governance is long overdue. The Congress of the United States has created and continues to fund programs that assist Native Hawaiians with housing, healthcare, and education yet a government to government relationship does not exist. I am working with my colleagues to carry on the work of the many legislators, activists and concerned citizens who have fought long and hard to solidify the trust relationship with Native Hawaiians. I would like to say mahalo to the President for taking the time to meet with us today.”

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS), CAPAC Immigration Taskforce Co-Chair: “Today’s meeting was a critical step in voicing the concerns of the AAPI community, especially as Congress considers critical issues affecting our community, such as immigration reform. As our Nation’s first ever ‘Pacific President,’ President Obama has demonstrated consistent understanding of the needs of AAPIs. Today’s meeting only reinforced his support for our community. I am hopeful that as President Obama considers key administrative decisions affecting our nation, this meeting will help inform him of how best to serve Asian Pacific Americans throughout the country.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), CAPAC Health Taskforce Co-Chair: “During today’s meeting, the President was engaged and open to CAPAC’s proposals surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As a principle driver in the creation of the Affordable Care Act, CAPAC has been fighting to eliminate health disparities in the AAPI community. Specifically, I had the opportunity to ask the President about the applications for enrolling in health plans. We need to ensure that in addition to English and Spanish, applications include Asian languages to ensure that we remove barriers to access.  The President was receptive to this, and encouraged us to work with Secretary Sebelius; it was a productive and meaningful meeting.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC Economic Development Taskforce Chair: “I thank the President for meeting with us and for listening to the concerns we have about immigration reform and other critical issues facing the AAPI community. He was very receptive to the issues we raised, and I look forward to working with him further on these important topics.”

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47): “I was pleased to meet with President Obama about the concerns of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.  The President spoke to issues of deep importance to the AAPI community, including family unity in the immigration process and improving language access in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act—both issues important to resident of California’s 47th Congressional District.  I was also heartened by President Obama’s reassurance that human rights in Vietnam is a priority for his administration and that he will be bringing up this issue in his meeting with the President of Vietnam.  I look forward to continue working with the President and his administration on these issues.”

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52): “I was pleased to meet with President Obama today as part of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and hear his continued commitment to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Members of the AAPI communities have been leaders in neighborhoods across San Diego and our country, and contribute to our dynamic cultural fabric. I look forward to working with the Administration to best further the priorities of AAPI communities as we move forward.”

Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15): “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with President Obama and share my strong support for comprehensive immigration reform that will grow our economy and strengthen families and communities. I was encouraged by the President’s strong commitment to seeing immigration reform pass the House of Representatives and be enacted into law.  I will continue to work with the White House and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to make this goal a reality.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.