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Amata welcomes proposal to end shutdown — is this too much optimism?

Congresswoman Aumua Amata Radewagen

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Congresswoman Aumua Amata issued a statement welcoming a compromise proposal to end the shutdown.  On Saturday, her Washington D.C. office released the following statement:

“The President is showing his willingness for genuine negotiations to end the shutdown, and made a responsible effort that should be thoroughly considered by my colleagues in the Congress in both parties. This has the potential to free up the Senate to move forward with necessary disaster assistance for American Samoa and elsewhere in the country that needs help urgently, including my amendment for $5 million in nutrition assistance and requested Medicaid relief, which is likely another $10 million or more for our Islands, as passed last week in the House.

“This is a positive step, and frankly, the first real possibility for true progress on the shutdown in weeks. I hope to see good faith negotiations on both sides, and momentum turn towards an end to the shutdown. Because I know so many of my friends on both sides of the aisle, and their spirit of public service, I remain optimistic that common sense can prevail, and the shutdown can end soon.

“If a grand compromise is eventually reached between the President and Congress on an overall spending bill, which is the only way forward, the emergency supplemental appropriations bill with funding for American Samoa will likely be included in it.”

Associated Press is reporting that hoping to put pressure on Democrats, the White House billed the announcement as a major step forward. But Trump did not budge on his $5.7 billion demand for the wall and, in essence, offered to temporarily roll-back some of his own hawkish immigration actions — actions that have been blocked by federal courts.

Following a week marked by his pointed clashes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was not clear if Trump’s offer would lead to serious steps to reopen the government, shut for a record 29 days. Trump’s move came as hundreds of thousands of federal workers go without paychecks, with many enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

Democrats dismissed Trump’s proposal even before his formal remarks. Pelosi said the expected offer was nothing more than “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives” and that the effort could not pass the House.

The proposal was also met with immediate criticism from some conservative corners, including NumbersUSA, which seeks to reduce both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S. “The offer the President announced today is a loser for the forgotten American workers who were central to his campaign promises,” said Roy Beck, the group’s president.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Trump’s offer was panned by progressive groups, with Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, calling it a “one-sided proposal.”

Congresswoman Aumua's cautious statement appears to place her in the camp of centrist Republicans like Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key centrist, who said she would study the details of the plan but did not commit to vote for it.

She added of the shutdown: “This needs to end now.”