Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on June 24, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 404–0, passed H.R. 2990, legislation to provide special pays and allowances to certain members of the Armed Forces, expand concurrent receipt of military retirement and VA disability benefits to disabled military retirees, and for other purposes. Particularly, Title II, Subtitle B of the legislation would extend locality pay to all Federal workers in Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. Territories. All current and future employees in non-foreign areas who are eligible to receive a Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA), whether or not they actually receive it, are covered by this measure and would therefore receive locality pay. Under this legislation, Federal employees in American Samoa would receive 12.9-percent locality pay received by the rest of the United States.
“I want to thank my colleague and Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, my good friend from Missouri, Congressman Ike Skelton, for including in this bill provisions to extend locality pay to Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Territories. I also want to thank my good friends from Hawaii, Congressman Neil Abercrombie, and Senator Daniel Akaka, for their leadership on this important matter,” Faleomavaega said.
“As I explained in the past, American Samoa is the only non-foreign part of the United States in which federal employees do not receive a cost-of-living allowance. For this reason, I introduced legislation in 2007, H.R. 1786, to provide that an employee stationed in American Samoa shall be paid the same allowance as if he or she were stationed in Guam or CNMI. Both of these non-foreign areas currently receive a COLA rate of 25-percent.”
“On April 16, 2007, H.R. 1786 was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Post Office and the District of Columbia, at which time I testified before the Committee on July 31, 2007 and reiterated my concerns on the unfair treatment of federal employees in American Samoa.”
“I shared this concern with Senator Akaka in a letter I wrote to him on July 23, 2008 requesting that American Samoa be included in his legislation, S. 3013, to provide for extension of locality pay to all federal employees in non-foreign areas. And I thank the Senator from Hawaii for his willingness to work with me on this issue. Since last year, we have been working together on this important matter,” Faleomavaega explained.
“I will continue to follow this issue closely as H.R. 2990 is now on its way to the Senate for its consideration,” Faleomavaega concluded.