Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has submitted a Letter to the Editor of the Saipan Tribune expressing his disappointment that the paper published false reports claiming that a provision calling for a study on the impact of past and future wage increases in American Samoa and CNMI had been included in the Iraq War Supplemental that was forwarded to President Bush for signature.
A full copy of the Congressman’s letter to the Saipan Tribune is included below.
On July 1, 2008, in article written by Agnes E. Donato entitled “Wage hike study bill heads to Bush”, the Saipan Tribune published false reports stating that “a proposal to have more studies done on the impact of recent wage hikes in the Northern Marianas and American Samoa is now with President Bush.”
Your paper further stated, “The wage study provision is included in the Iraq war supplemental funding bill, which was presented to the President on Saturday, June 27, after having passed in identical form in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill will become law once Bush signs it.”
I am disappointed that in its race to be the first to report about minimum wage issues affecting American Samoa and CNMI that the Saipan Tribune would mislead its own readers and the people of American Samoa by printing false information about this important topic.
To be clear, way back on May 22, 2008, the US Senate passed a version of the Iraq supplemental which included language calling for the GAO to conduct a study on the impact of past and future wage increases in American Samoa and CNMI.
However, on June 19, 2008, the House offered up H.R. 2642, another version of the Iraq supplemental which did not include the provision for a minimum wage study.
On June 26, 2008, the Senate passed the House version and, on June 30, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008, now known as P.L. 110-252, which never included the language calling for a minimum wage study. At no time, contrary to the Saipan Tribune’s report, was this language on the President’s desk for consideration.
For the record, efforts are underway in the US Congress to address minimum wage rates affecting American Samoa and CNMI and my office is working closely with US Senators Inouye, Akaka, Bingaman, and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as well as Chairman George Miller, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, to find a solution that is fair for our workers and employers. At Governor Fitial’s request, I have also agreed to make sure CNMI receives the same treatment as American Samoa in any legislation that may be offered.