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ASG operations funding increase included in FY 2018 bill by US House

Amata and Chairman Calvert on the House floor during a colloquy, seated is Amata’s Legislative Director and veteran Casey Brinck. [courtesy photo]
US House Committee staves off decrease, instead includes increase
Source: Congresswoman Aumua Amata Office, Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC  —  The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, chaired by Rep. Ken Calvert of California has approved the FY 2018 bill, which includes a recommendation for American Samoa Government Operations to be raised to $23,002,222, an increase of $250,000 above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.

The next steps are passage of the bill through both chambers of Congress and then the President’s signature, which Congresswoman Aumua Amata expects to happen with no issues.

Amata praised the work of Chairman Calvert, his subcommittee and committee staff for their efforts to not only stave off the proposed Trump Administration cuts to ASG funding, but actually increased the funding for the first time since 1986.

“Since my very first day in office, we have worked to get the funding levels for this account increased. From letters to leadership, to hearings, to one on one meetings, we have worked extremely hard to get this increase and I could not be happier to see it come to fruition,” stated Amata.

Since 1974, Congress has included funding in the Interior Appropriations bill for certain American Samoa Government operations, including LBJ Medical Center, the local judiciary, American Samoa Community College, and other Department of Education operations. 

In 1974 the funding level was approximately $17 million, where it remained until 1986 when it was increased to $22.75 million annually. 

The increase comes despite the proposed $1.4 million cut to the account requested by the Trump Administration. Had the proposed cut gone into effect, the FY 2018 funding level would have been approximately $21.3 million… which would have certainly been difficult for the ASG to absorb.

“Getting any increase in funding for our beautiful home is always a win for our people, but I am determined to continue working to see that funding for this account is increased even more in the future.  In fact, I would like to see the CPI formula applied to the account, which would allow for future increases to be based on inflation and other economic factors,” Amata said. 

“I want to thank Chairman Calvert for working with us closely on this issue, and really listening to the needs of the island and the funding shortfalls we are facing. He is a true friend to American Samoa, and I am grateful for his leadership,” concluded the Congresswoman.