Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he was to travel to American Samoa to attend High Chief Faiivae's funeral and meet with the leaders of the business community to discuss the issue of minimum wage. However, while enroute to American Samoa, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi personally called to inform Faleomavaega that his vote on the House Natural Resources Committee was critical for the passage of the Democratic proposal for a national policy on energy.
“I knew that some of our Democrats would not support the 2007 Energy bill in committee but I thought we still had enough votes to pass the bill,” Faleomavaega said. “Apparently another tally was taken and Chairman Nick Rahall then realized that there was a potential for a tie, and my vote might well make the difference.”
“While I wanted to pay my respects to Senator Faiivae who was one of the great leaders of our people, Speaker Pelosi’s personal request necessitated my return to Washington to make sure the Democrats had enough votes to pass the energy package which is moving on multiple fronts, including the House Committee on Natural Resources which has taken up H.R. 2337 to promote energy policy reforms.”
“While I had also intended to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and had hoped to meet with the Governor, the Fono, and our traditional leaders and business community to discuss minimum wage, I will just have to wait for another opportunity when I have a chance to return to American Samoa. This is the reality of Washington. Every bill has to be passed out of Committee before it can be passed by the House on the Floor. If it gets voted down in Committee, then there is no Floor vote.”
“This is why every vote counts, including the vote I exercise on behalf of the people of American Samoa during Committee mark-ups. Given the extreme importance of the energy package which is essential to reducing the price at the pump and taking America in a new direction, it was necessary for me to do my part in making sure this bill gets passed.”
“It is unfortunate that my duties in Washington have prevented me from attending Senator Faiivae’s funeral service. However, I do want to extend my deepest condolences to Aunt Fia Faiivae and the children, and to Paramount Chief Tuitele, and all the traditional leaders and the people of the village of Leone,” Faleomavaega concluded.