Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the House Committee on Natural Resources, on November 18, 2009, ordered to be reported by unanimous consent, bill number H.R. 3940. If approved by the House, Guam, American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) would receive grants and other assistance to facilitate a political status public education program.
“I want to thank Chairman Nick Rahall, Ranking Member Doc Hastings and members of the Natural Resources Committee for their support. I especially want to thank the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, my good friend Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo for her leadership and for continuing to look out for the interest of all insular areas,” Faleomavaega said.
“When it was first introduced, HR 3940 gives authorization to the Secretary of Interior to extend assistance to the Government and people of Guam to facilitate a public education program regarding political status options for the Territory. That includes assistance in the form of grants, research, planning assistance, studies, and agreements with Federal agencies, to facilitate public education programs regarding political status options for Guam,” Faleomavaega explained.
“I commend Chairwoman Bordallo for her willingness to work with Congresswoman Donna Christensen and myself. Following the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs and Oceans and Wildlife hearing on November 5, 2009, HR 3940 now extends the same assistance to include American Samoa, Guam and the United States Virgin Islands,” Faleomavaega noted.
“The question of political status remains a critical matter in the insular areas. And while the resolution is the prerogative of the people of each respective Territory, Congress shares a huge responsibility. That responsibility includes helping each respective territorial government decide a political status according to the peoples’ aspirations. The bill, HR 3940, embodies such responsibility and provides the much needed assistance to help educate and inform the people about viable political status options,” Faleomavaega stated.
“As HR 3940 now awaits House approval, I will continue to work with my fellow delegates and colleagues to resolve any concerns on this issue,” Faleomavaega concluded.