Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 254 to 173, passed legislation making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
“Under the appropriations bill that was passed, H.R. 2996, the American Samoa Government (ASG) will receive $22.8 millions in government operation funds from the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) for the fiscal year 2010 (FY2010). Government operation funds provide essential assistance to help ASG provide basic services such as health care, education, public safety, and support for the judiciary. The objective is to promote self-sufficiency, therefore, the amount remains constant throughout the years and ASG absorbs the costs of inflation or costs associated with the growing population in our Territory. Currently, ASG operation funds represent approximately 11-percent of ASG’s General Fund revenue and 29-percent of the LBJ Hospital’s revenue. Remaining funds are allocated to basic operations and the High Court,” Faleomavaega said.
“Also, under H.R. 2996, ASG will receive $9.3 millions in Covenant Capital Improvement Project (CIP) grants for FY2010, an addition of $3,000 from the previous year. As have been in the past, CIP funding addresses a variety of infrastructure needs in American Samoa including hospitals, schools and wastewater systems. These improvements are critical to providing the framework for economic development in our Territory.”
“I want to thank Chairman Obey of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Chairman Inouye of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, for listening to the concerns of the territories regarding the release of detainees from Guantanamo. On June 16, 2009, Bordallo of Guam, Christensen of US Virgin Islands, Pierluisi of Puerto Rico, Sablan of CNMI, and I, in a joint letter, requested that the language prohibiting the use of funds to release or transfer detainees to the States also be applied to the U.S. Territories. I thank the appropriators for recognizing the concerns of the Territories and including in H.R. 2996 provision for this specific purpose. Specifically, the provision in H.R. 2996 would make it financially unfeasible to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the Territories,” Faleomavaega explained.
“Finally, I want to thank my colleagues from the Territories for their hard work and effort to ensure that our interests are addressed,” Faleomavaega concluded.