|| Ranking Member Eni Faleomavaega of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific announced today that he publicly offered his personal thanks to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for reestablishing U.S. influence in the Asia Pacific region and for her personal involvement in the humanitarian assistance to American Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa after the devastating tsunami on September 29, 2009.
Secretary Clinton appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to testify on the President’s proposed Foreign Relations budget for FY 2013. The Congressman’s full statement at the hearing is included below:
This may be one of our last times together and so I want to publicly thank you for reestablishing America’s influence abroad, especially in the Asia Pacific region. As you aptly stated “the future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.”
Thanks to your efforts, I believe the U.S. will be front and center, and so I thank you for bucking tradition on your first trip overseas. On your first trip overseas, you visited Asia to convey a message that America’s relationships across the Pacific are “indispensable” and -- in your many trips since -- from Vietnam to Cambodia to Myanmar to China, South Korea, Japan and beyond, you have been about the business of making and keeping economic and strategic commitments that will pay dividends many times over. I applaud you for recognizing the importance of Pacific Island nations in this multifaceted undertaking and, in context of this hearing on the Foreign Relations budget, I reiterate what you have already stated:
“Those who say that we can no longer afford to engage with the world have it exactly backward -- we cannot afford not to. From opening new markets for American businesses to curbing nuclear proliferation to keeping the sea lanes free for commerce and navigation, our work abroad holds the key to our prosperity and security at home.”
I agree with you, and commend you for a job well done.
I also want to also note for the record that when American Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa were hit by the most powerful earthquake of 2009 which set off a tsunami of 30-foot waves from which we have not fully recovered, you and Assistant Secretary Dave Adams, were amongst the first to stand with us. You fought to make sure relief supplies were airlifted to us, and your tireless efforts for and on our behalf did not go unnoticed.
At my request, you also personally made it a point to visit my little district and, on behalf of the thousands of our Samoan men and women who proudly serve in our Armed Forces, we are grateful for your recognition of their service.
My people thank you for remembering us amid the many things you have done for our country.
Faleomavaega concluded his statement by saying, “Madam Secretary, it has been an honor to serve with you, and I commend you for the initiatives you have outlined in this budget including assistance for East Asia and the Pacific region.”