Congressman Faleomavaega and U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii announced today that the Congress has passed legislation that will allow U.S. nationals from American Samoa to fully participate in Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs at U.S. colleges and universities.
The authorization stems from an amendment – introduced in the Senate by Senator Inouye and in the House by Congressman Faleomavaega – that was part of the conference report to the Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, which cleared its final legislative hurdle late Wednesday night (December 21, 2005) when the Senate passed the bill by voice vote. The legislation, which the House approved on Monday (December 19, 2005) by a vote of 374 to 41, now moves to the White House for the President to sign into law.
Senator Inouye said: “Congressman Faleomavaega and I have worked on this issue since 1997, and I am pleased that we have finally succeeded in making it possible for U.S. nationals from American Samoa to be eligible for ROTC scholarships. U.S. nationals from American Samoa have served and continue to serve this great country valiantly and with great distinction in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. They deserve the opportunity to participate in the Senior ROTC programs offered at our U.S. universities. This legislation will allow them to do so.”
Congressman Faleomavaega joined Senator Inouye to state: “We thank our colleagues in the Senate and the House for supporting our efforts. Our military forces will be well served by filling the ranks of their officer corps with Samoans. For this reason, we encourage young Samoans to apply for these scholarships by contacting U.S. universities and colleges offering Senior ROTC programs.”