Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that by a vote of 56 to 42 the Senate was unable to reach cloture on H.R. 5970, the Family Prosperity Act, which includes a two-year extension of tax credits for American Samoa’s canneries. Cloture is a procedure which allows the Senate to consider a bill without opening it up for amendment or debate. Sixty votes are needed for cloture. Failing to reach cloture means the bill cannot be voted on as is and, if considered, would be open to debate or amendment.
“In the case of H.R. 5970, the Senate sought to consider this bill as the House submitted it because any changes to the bill would require the House to start from scratch and put a new bill forward,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “To avoid this lengthy process and to get this legislation to the President’s desk for signature, the Senate opted to invoke cloture. Unfortunately, the Senate fell three votes short of cloture with 57 Senators voting in favor of the motion. However, by reversing his vote, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist reserved the right to bring up the bill again when Congress returns from recess.”
“In other words, H.R. 5970 is now on hold in the Senate and, when we return from recess, the Senate must decide if it will modify H.R. 5970 or again try to reach cloture so the bill can be voted on without being changed. Whatever, the outcome, I am confident that tax extenders, including our 30A provision, will get passed.”
“As I stated earlier this week, American Samoa’s tax credits are a very small part of H.R. 5970 which is a larger bill that includes items which turned out to hamper tonight’s vote on cloture. Two of the most controversial provisions included increasing minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. The other provision cut the estate tax for wealthy Americans.”
“Neither party was able to come to terms on these issues and, as a result, the Senate was unable to reach cloture and act on H.R. 5970 which includes a two-year extension of 30A tax credits for our canneries. However, on the Senate floor, there was clear support for the tax extenders included in H.R. 5970 of which we are a part.”
“As many Senators noted, the tax extenders enjoy broad, bipartisan support and this is why each and every year, no matter which party is in control, they are attached to larger bills to entice one party or the other to vote in favor of less popular provisions. The good news for us is our support for 30A remains intact and many Senators vowed on the floor tonight that they will not go home this year until tax extenders are passed.”
“For this reason, I continue to have faith that we will be okay no matter what bill or package we end up in, and I have every confidence that Chairman Thomas will continue to protect our interests throughout this process. So, once again, I thank our people for their support and prayers. I also thank the Governor, the Fono, our canneries, our local business community, the US Department of the Interior, and Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate for standing firm and working together to get this deal done.”
“When Congress returns in September, I will provide additional updates, as promised. I also remain very hopeful that our extenders will be passed before the year ends either as part of H.R. 5970 or another bill that may be put forward,” Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.