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Speaker advises House rules committee to review reconsideration rule

Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It was during a discussion in the House of Representatives this week about removing the provision for a reconsideration vote from House Rules that Speaker of the House, Savali Talavou Ale advised members of the House Rules Committee, which Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr. chairs, that the committee should review the rules and report their recommendations to the House for discussion and vote.

Vice Speaker Fetui said during a House session this week that it is time to remove the reconsideration vote from House rules because of incidents that have happened in the past. He told Savali that they held a hearing on the issue and were advised by the Legislative Counsel, that the reconsideration vote was intended to apply only to bills that are defeated.

However, according to Fetui, the reconsideration rule has now been applied to confirmation votes, which is not according to House Rules.

He then mentioned something that happened in the past where the House voted more than two times to reject a nomination and then finally approved the appointee on the third try. Fetui said that the decision drew a lot of criticism towards lawmakers and the Speaker last year.

Fetui told Savali that he’s not bringing this up now to target new directors coming up for Fono confirmation but it’s something that the House needs to address. He stated that the House Rules are clear and must be honored by lawmakers.

Several faipule told Samoa News that this is one of the reasons why directors the Fono rejected got a chance to get back on track because of this provision for reconsideration.

“I totally agreed that once the Fono rejects a nominee that person has no chance to be back for another reconsideration,” one faipule said, adding that, “It about time for the House to uphold our House Rules and follow them.”