Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Insular Affairs and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives will conduct a joint hearing tomorrow, May 21, 2008, 10:00am, in Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC.
The purpose of the joint hearing is to review why the U.S. Census Bureau is not collecting current and reliable data for American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam and how the lack of an annual survey presents obstacles for those making important decisions about these economies and communities.
“For American Samoa, minimum wage is a case in point. While the U.S. Congress asked for information in order to rollback the minimum wage, neither our canneries, ASG, or the DOL could provide Congress with the information it needed to make an informed decision about whether or not our economy could afford further increases,” Faleomavaega said. “So, on behalf of our people, I want to thank Chairwoman Donna Christensen of the Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Insular Affairs for holding a hearing on this important matter.”
“I also want to thank Chairman Wm. Lacy Clay of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives since this is a joint hearing. The Joint hearing will shed light on many issues and challenges facing data collection in the insular areas, including American Samoa.”
Scheduled to testify at this joint hearing are the Honorable Felix P. Camacho, Governor of Guam; Dr. Frank L. Mills, Director, Eastern Caribbean Center, University of the Virgin Islands; and Mr. Francisco Cimadevilla, Vice President and Editor in Chief, Casiano Communications, Inc. On Panel 2, the two witnesses are Mr. Nikolao Pula, Director, Office of Insular Affairs; and Mr. Thomas Mesenbourg, Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Census Bureau. It is my understanding that ASG will submit a statement for the record.
“As a result of this hearing and the testimony that will be received, I am hopeful that the U.S. Census Bureau will take our concerns seriously and provide improved and meaningful data that will better serve the insular areas,” Faleomavaega concluded.