Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he requested that the House Committee on Natural Resources hold a hearing on ASPIRE, and Chairman Nick Rahall has agreed to a hearing date of November 4, 2009.
“I want to thank Chairman Rahall of the Natural Resources Committee for moving quickly to hold a hearing on this important piece of legislation, which I introduced to create jobs and rebuild our economy,” Faleomavaega said. “While it had been my hope that the Natural Resources Committee could discharge H.R. 3583 to the Ways and Means Committee so that we could begin the process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the tsunami, I also believe that on an issue of this importance we should fully vet and resolve any and all concerns related to this bill.”
“This is why I asked Chairman Rahall to invite StarKist, Bumble Bee, Tri-Marine, the Tunaboat Association, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Department of Labor, Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta, and Governor Togiola to testify at the hearing. Last week, the Committee on Natural Resources informed my office that invitations have been extended per my request to each of these individuals and organizations and, once more, I thank Chairman Rahall and Ranking Member Doc Hastings for their support.”
“Given the media attention surrounding ASPIRE before the tsunami struck our islands on September 29, 2009, I believe the hearing will once and for all make plain where everyone stands on this issue. For those who support us, it will be necessary that they support us unequivocally. We have no more time for delay or dispute, although I remain open to putting forward a bill that is a win-win for everyone.”
“I also remain firmly committed to doing everything I can to put our people back to work with the passage of the American Samoa Protection of Industry, Resources and Employment Act, despite the misleading information which was put forward prior to the tsunami,” Faleomavaega concluded.