Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that for the first time in American Samoa’s history and in the history of the U.S. Congress, American Samoa’s Delegate will preside over the U.S. House of Representatives in the Committee of the Whole. Faleomavaega will preside at approximately noon tomorrow and C-Span will provide full coverage.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to represent the people of American Samoa on this historic occasion,” Faleomavaega said. “When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, one of the first things the Democratic leadership did was to make sure that the people from the Territories were recognized more fully for the contributions and sacrifices they make for our nation.”
“Our people serve our country with honor and distinction. Our military men and women fight and die to preserve our freedom. Yet, in the entire history of the U.S. Congress, when Republicans have been in power, they have never allowed Delegates from the Territories to preside over the Committee of the Whole House on behalf of the people they represent.”
“I appreciate and commend Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and our Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, for standing up for us, and making it possible for Delegates to represent our people in the way they deserve to be represented. The only other time Delegates were given this high honor to preside was in 1993 in the 103rd Congress when Democrats also controlled the House.”
“In 1993, Congress went out of session before all Delegates could have this opportunity. This time, Speaker Pelosi chose to allow Delegates to preside in order of their seniority, and this meant American Samoa was first in line for this historic event.”
“However, according to the Speaker’s office, a Member of Congress cannot preside over the Committee of the Whole when bills from their committees are being debated on the Floor. Today, bills from the Foreign Affairs Committee were being considered by the House and, since I am a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and I switched days.”
“Tomorrow, I will preside over the Committee of the Whole House for and on behalf of the people of American Samoa. Again, I am humbled to represent our people on this historic occasion.”
“In recognition of this occasion, let us not forget our military men and women and their families who sacrifice so much for our grateful nation. In gratitude of God’s goodness, let us also pray for their safe return,” Faleomavaega concluded.