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Amata provides US Senate with American Samoa’s pressing priorities

Congresswoman Amata and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Sources: Media release from Cong. Aumua Amata's office

Washington, D.C. — Tuesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata presented American Samoa’s needs and priorities to the United States Senate.

She highlighted the following key objectives:

•    Extending and broadening access to unemployment relief;

•    Long term modernization of LBJ Tropical Medical Center;

•    Multi-year continuation of the 30A/American Samoa Economic Development Credit (ASEDC) to support local jobs and provide a stable basis for long term efforts to diversify;

•    Infrastructure needs such as ports safety and sea walls including additional highway formula funding and grants;

•    Including American Samoa in the EB-5 investment program to promote economic investment and increase broadband and tech infrastructure grants;

•    Providing additional local government relief and COVID-19 contact testing and tracing support including lifting the Medicaid cap.

“While we thank God every day American Samoa has remained virus free, we are hardly immune to the economic fallout,” noted Aumua Amata. “In fact, we are in the same boat as the rest of the country with extensive disruptions to our churches, schools, small businesses and local government revenues.”

Speaking to the Senate Committee remotely from American Samoa, Congresswoman Amata discussed these priorities in detail, and thanked them for their role in American Samoa’s economic relief and COVID-19 health preparations, well over $100 million in a variety of funding and grants, direct aid to our local ASG operations, stimulus checks, PPP and EIDL loans to small businesses and nonprofits, and forthcoming PUA and unemployment assistance payments for people in need. She followed up with a lengthier submission in writing explaining American Samoa’s circumstances.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is led by two senators with seniority: Chairman Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Ranking Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

“Thank you to a longtime friend to American Samoa, Chairman Murkowski and Senator Manchin for the opportunity to present our islands’ priorities directly,” concluded Amata.

Video footage of Congresswoman Amata’s testimony is available here beginning at the 40 minute time stamp.