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Rep. Jackie Speier Reintroduces Bill to Restore Filipino Vets’ Benefits

Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California and 22 congressional colleagues today introduced H.R. 2823, the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2019.

When the U.S. came under attack in World War II, 250,000 brave Filipinos volunteered to fight alongside U.S. forces. As American nationals, they were promised all the benefits afforded to U.S. troops. Yet in 1946 Congress inexplicably stripped these benefits from our brave Filipino veterans, overturning President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s commitment.

The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2019 addresses that injustice by giving widows and children of Filipino veterans the same eligibility for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation provided to the families of all other veterans. It would also direct the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to take into account alternative military documentation when determining eligibility, removing a significant hurdle that has kept many deserving dependents from receiving their rightful benefits.

“Congress committed a historic transgression when it reneged on promises made to Filipino veterans who fought valiantly with the United States in WWII,” Rep. Speier said. “This bill would right that wrong and fulfill our commitment to these heroes and their families. The United States has always benefitted from the strength of our allies and coalitions. If we don’t take care of our partners, we may find ourselves alone in the future.”

Though some Filipino veterans received lump sum payments as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, missing official records have hampered the ability of thousands more retirees to receive benefits. The Act would allow veterans to qualify by instead presenting alternative military documentation.

“We must go beyond the Recovery Act payments to ensure all Filipino veterans receive owed benefits for their service to our nation,” Rep. Speier said. “Time is running out to act for these veterans and their loved ones. As of 2017, their average age was 90 and fewer than 15,000 were still alive. The passage of time has only made this situation more dire.”

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PAC of AAPI Members of Congress Encourage Presidential Candidates to Prioritize AAPIs in Campaigns

ASPIRE PAC, the political arm of Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress, sent a letter today to declared candidates for the Democratic nomination for President encouraging them to prioritize AAPI communities in their outreach, hiring, and campaign materials.

The letter was led by ASPIRE Chair Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07), Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Congressman TJ Cox (CA-21), Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17), Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (CNMI), Congressman Michael San Nicholas (GU), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41).

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing population in our country, and we are already an important constituency in key electoral states such as California, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. It’s crucial that candidates seeking the Democratic nomination pay attention to Asian American and Pacific Islander voters across the country,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng, Chair of ASPIRE.

“We encourage you to keep Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in mind as your campaign makes hiring decisions and prioritizes outreach to different voting blocs as you campaign for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. History has shown us that we are stronger when all voices are represented at the decision-making table,” wrote the Members.

ASPIRE PAC was established to work for fair representation in the U.S. Congress by supporting and increasing the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) policymakers and federal candidates with large AAPI constituencies. The PAC works to support the values and address the issues important to the AAPI community.

The full letter:

May 8, 2019

Dear Candidate:

ASPIRE PAC is the political arm for Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress. We encourage you to keep Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in mind as your campaign makes hiring decisions and prioritizes outreach to different voting blocs as you campaign for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. History has shown us that we are stronger when all voices are represented at the decision-making table.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing population in our country. We are already an important constituency across the country, and will strongly influence the outcome in key electoral states such as Nevada, California, New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

There are many opportunities for a presidential campaign to show its commitment to our community. As you make hiring decisions, plan your events and speak across the country, we ask that you will keep the AAPI community in mind. As you engage with different communities, it is crucial to use in-language outreach tools and AAPI media outlets.

We are often overlooked by campaigns and remind you that showing up can go a long way.

Sincerely,

Rep. Grace Meng, Chair
Rep. Ami Bera
Rep. TJ Cox
Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Andy Kim
Rep. Judy Chu, Past Chair
Rep. Rho Khanna
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
Rep. Ted Lieu
Rep. Doris Matsui
Rep. Stephanie Murphy
Rep. Stephanie Murphy
Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Rep. Michael San Nicolas
Rep. Michael San Nicolas
Rep. Bobby Scott

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Statement on Recent Hate Crimes

CAPA21 stands with the victims of the recent hate crimes in Sunnyvale against Muslims and South Asians and against Jews at the Poway synagogue.

The frightening increase in such crimes against Muslims, Arabs, other people of color, and Jews reflects the hatred spewed by the President who has created a climate of violence and antagonism against such groups and immigrants.

Unless he is defeated, we will witness and experience a monumental rise of intolerance against ALL racial and religious groups.

We must stand together as Americans against bigotry and fear now or the present will become our future.

CAPA21 PAC

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