February 1, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- PRESIDENT PROPOSES $33 MILLION BUDGET
FOR AMERICAN SAMOA IN FY2000
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that American Samoa again looks good in the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2000, with level funding for government operations ($23 million) and construction projects ($10 million).
"I am pleased with the President's proposal for American Samoa," said Faleomavaega. "This is our third year with construction funding at the $10.1 million level, which is a tremendous opportunity to continue the development of our infrastructure. While other areas are being cut or are having matching requirements imposed on them for federal funding, we received an increase three years ago and retained it in the FY2000 budget."
"American Samoa should also benefit from a $1 million increase in OIA's budget to be used to preserve and protect coral reefs in the insular areas," noted the Congressman.The President has again inserted a proposal for permanent funding of a Children's Health Program for the territories. Despite Republican Congressional opposition to this program last year, the territories received 94% of the funding the President requested. "I am very pleased the President is again requesting permanent funding for this important program," said Faleomavaega. As proposed, this program will provide $500,000 for American Samoa next year."
As part of its continuing struggle with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, CNMI construction funding is being cut by $10 million and the money will be provided to the government of Guam as an offset to mitigate increased construction costs resulting from Micronesian immigration to Guam. "One of the reasons cited for this transfer of funds is that the CNMI did not use CIP funding from prior years. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of moving forward with CIP's in Samoa as federal money becomes available," said Faleomavaega.
"Last year I reported that the Interior Department statements on the budget noted problems at our hospital. This year's statement does not contain any such references, which is a positive sign. Nevertheless, we need to continue our efforts to bring spending in line with budget limits, and continue to address the long-standing problems at the hospital. Governor Tauese's efforts toward this end are to be commended and I will continue to support his initiatives from Washington," concluded Faleomavaega.