Senate Passes S. 1237, Omnibus Territories Bill with Faleomavaega's Provisions for American Samoa Included
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Faleomavaega announced that the U.S. Senate passed last night (June 18) with an amendment by Unanimous Consent S. 1237, the Omnibus Territories bill which includes his provisions for American Samoa.
Faleomavaega put forward provisions for American Samoa which include an analysis of the economic effects on employees and employers of the differentials in minimum wage rates among industries and classifications in American Samoa under section 697 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, including the potential effects of eliminating such differentials prior to the time when such rates are scheduled to be equal to the minimum wage set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act; a benefit to cost ratio study for projects in America Samoa to assess whether the benefit-to-cost ratio formulas consider the remote locations in, and the cost of transportation to and from, American Samoa, and other significant factors that are not comparable to locations within the contiguous States, and assess, in particular, the use of benefit-to-cost ratio formulas by the Secretary of Transportation with respect to airport traffic control tower programs, and by the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Corps of Engineers, with respect to a harbor project or other water resources development project; and certain exemptions for fishery endorsements.
Faleomavaega also put forward a provision for all Territories which would have waived local matching requirements for grants up to $500,000 or less, and for grants more than $500,000, $500,000 of the matching requirement would have been waived. An amendment put forward by Senator Murkowski struck this provision after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that it would be too costly for the federal government. Senator Murkowski’s amendment also struck a provision regarding Guam War Claims.
“While passage by the Senate is a victory, the Omnibus Territories Act still needs to be passed by the House, and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we try to move this forward. I will keep the people of American Samoa updated as the matter progresses, and I offer my sincere appreciation to the Senate for supporting the Territories,” Faleomavaega concluded.