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American Samoa plans for possible U.S. government shutdown

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga
Possible government shutdown looms as political issues remain unresolved

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has issued “precautionary financial measures” for all government entities, especially those agencies that are federally funded or anticipate grants from the US government.

“In light of the uncertain status of the federal government relative to whether it will resolve contentious political issues threatening the shutdown of government, it behooves us to take precautionary financial measures to mitigate any adverse financial impact on our fiscal operation,” Lolo wrote to his cabinet members in a Dec. 3rd letter.

“Accordingly, until such time the looming possible federal shutdown is resolved, we will recommit ourselves to full compliance with articulated Cost Containment Measures,” wrote the governor, referring to the ASG Cost Containment Measures implemented in 2013.

The governor explained that pre-approval of overtime is reaffirmed and the payment of overtime is suspended forthwith.

Additionally, the Office of Program Planning and Budget director Catherine Saelua, Chief Procurement Officer Dr. Oreta Mapu Crichton, and ASG Treasurer Uelinitone Tonumaipe’a “will meticulously review and scrutinize payment requests for large ticket items.”

He said that projects which need continuation include the fire station, museum, road maintenance, and the prison.

According to the governor, federally funded agencies will immediately inquire with their respective grantors of the impact of a possible federal government shutdown on their operations.

“If the flow of funds is interrupted, the Director is to submit the plan to address the needs of the operation which should also include the plan for the temporary furlough of employees during the duration of the shutdown,” Lolo explained.

The Associated Press reports that US Congressional leaders on Monday this week introduced a two-week funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown over US President Donald Trump’s border wall.

According to the AP, the stopgap measure would keep government funded through Dec. 21st, two weeks after a Friday deadline when funding for a portion of the government including the US Department of Homeland Security, is set to expire.