|| Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that by a vote of 411 to 14 the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2993, a bill to provide for a circulating quarter dollar coin program to commemorate American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
“In general, this legislation would amend the popular 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act to include 6 new designs emblematic of the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Designs on the reverse side of each quarter dollar issued during 2009 will be selected by the Secretary of Treasury in consultation with the chief executive officers of these areas,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
All five delegates are and were original co-sponsors of this bi-partisan measure. This measure was first introduced in the 106th Congress and passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 377-6. Unfortunately, the 106th Congress ended before the Senate was able to consider our bill. During the 107th Congress, identical legislation (H.R. 4005) passed the House and was received in the Senate in October of 2002. Once again, the Senate was unable to consider this matter before the 107th Congress adjourned.
“Now, we have introduced H.R. 2993 and we are hopeful that the House and Senate will pass this legislation before the 108th Congress adjourns. At this time, I want to thank Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her leadership and I also want to thank the other Delegates who have also worked tirelessly to ensure that this legislation is considered,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“It is only fitting for Congress to acknowledge the Territories’ relationship with the United States. Speaking on behalf of American Samoa, we have a long and proud history of supporting the United States. The traditional leaders of the islands of Tutuila and Aunu’u ceded our islands to the United States in 1900. Four years later, the King of Manu’a and his chiefs ceded the Manu’a Islands.”
“In the early part of the century, the port village of Pago Pago was used as a coaling station for U.S. naval ships. During WWII, it was used as a support base for U.S. soldiers. To this day, American Samoa serves as a refueling point for U.S. naval ships and military aircraft.”
“American Samoa also has a per capita enlistment rate in the U.S. military which is as high as any State or U.S. Territory. Our sons and daughters have served in record numbers in every U.S. military engagement from WWII to present operations in Iraq. We have stood by the United States in good times and bad and I believe this relationship should be acknowledged with the issuance of a commemorative coin.”
“H.R. 2993 affords us an opportunity to recognize the special contributions that American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas and the District of Columbia have made to the history of our Nation. I thank my colleagues for voting in favor of this legislation and I urge the Senate to also support our cause,” the Congressman concluded.