Amata welcomes new federal funds for American Samoa
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed Senate passage of a package of appropriations bills, including Interior Appropriations, that contains her requests for the $718,000 increase for the American Samoa Government, and provides for an official report to Congress on the condition of the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.
Since the House of Representatives already passed a different version of Interior Appropriations in July, the next step is a conference committee to reconcile the two bills unless either the House or Senate chooses to move forward with the other’s bill. Thus, final passage of Interior Appropriations through Congress is expected no earlier than September. Congresswoman Amata supports these Senate bill provisions for American Samoa, which passed Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of 92-6.
“Under the leadership of Senator Murkowski, the Interior Appropriations legislation has moved forward quickly and with strong bipartisan support,” said Aumua Amata. “I’m pleased to start August with Interior Appropriations ready for the final legislative step when Congress reconvenes.”
The Senate Interior funding bill was passed by the Appropriations Committee in late June, followed by the full Senate vote on August 1. Chairman Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a longtime friend of American Samoa and the Territories, ensured the presence of these two priorities as the bill was written and passed at the Subcommittee and Committee levels.
Congresswoman Amata had a series of discussions on American Samoa’s needs, including the impact of Cyclone Gita, personally with Chairman Murkowski in the lead-up to the 2019 Appropriations process. Chairman Murkowski leads the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, and Chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“The Senate bill report language specifies Cyclone Gita’s impact on our islands, and expresses the concerns of the Committee and Chairman Murkowski that Congress needs a study on the condition of the hospital,” concluded Congresswoman Amata. “I appreciate Chairman Murkowski’s proven friendship to the Territories.”
HEAD START PROGRAM
Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 - Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed nearly $3.9 million for the Head Start program in American Samoa. These funds are designated to the American Samoa Department of Education for Head Start over the span of a five-year project by the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
“The Head Start program is intended to help our kids start down a lifelong path of learning by developing a good educational foundation early in their schooling,” said Aumua Amata. “I’m pleased to welcome these federal funds for American Samoa, and want to especially thank all the educators involved here in American Samoa in Head Start and teaching our children.”
Specifically, this discretionary grant of $3,876,974 was authorized by Congress as part of the federal budget for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of which ACF is a part, along with its national Office of Head Start. The grant is available to the American Samoa Education Department’s Early Childhood Division.
“Thank you once again to the Trump Administration and HHS Secretary Alex Azar for this federal support for American Samoa’s childhood education,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “We also appreciate ACF’s current leadership, Acting Assistant Secretary Steven Wagner, and the national Office of Head Start Director Dr. Deborah Bergeron.”
“Thank you to Education Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga and Project Director Lesieli Miscoi, along with anyone taking part in this grant process or management,” concluded Amata. “Grants often involve local effort in the application process so that these services can be funded.”