Ads by Google Ads by Google

Pacific Islands Caucus co-chairs hail passage of COFA legislation

Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata
Source: House Pacific Islands Caucus

Washington, D.C. — The co-chairs of the bipartisan House Pacific Islands Caucus are hailing House passage of legislation that renews and funds the Compacts of Free Association (COFA). The Compacts are the foundation for U.S. relations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau for the next generation.

“As a representative from among the Pacific Island peoples, it was an honor to support and take part in this historic legislation to emphasize these deep friendships,” said Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), who chaired the Natural Resources Committee’s bipartisan Indo-Pacific Task Force. “The COFA agreements send a clear message of U.S. commitment to the Pacific region, and take a much-needed international strong stand for the ideals of democracy and freedom.”

“The Compacts are central not only to our longstanding relationships with Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, but to our country’s standing in the broader Pacific,” said Congressman Ed Case (D-HI-01).

“Standing by our Indo-Pacific allies is imperative to bolster U.S. leadership and counter growing aggression by the Chinese Communist Party. The Compacts of Free Association (COFA) agreements between the U.S., Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands are essential to projecting strength in the region,” said Congresswoman Young Kim (R-CA), who serves as chairwoman of the Indo-Pacific Subcommittee. “I’m thrilled these COFA agreements will be renewed to provide economic assistance, support those who serve in our nation’s uniform, and allow the U.S. to protect our sea lines of communication in the Pacific.”

“The Compacts of Free Association (COFA) renewal reaffirms the United States’ strong and longstanding friendships with the Freely Associated States (FAS)–– the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands,” said Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA). “I am pleased to see elements of my bipartisan Care for COFA Veterans Act included in this legislation to expand VA health benefits to veterans from the FAS who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The passage of the COFA renewal honors our commitment to our historical FAS partners and those who served in our nation's military.”

“Our bilateral agreements with the Freely Associated States form the backbone of U.S. foreign policy in the Pacific Islands, a strategically critical region that is increasingly under threat from the Chinese Communist Party,” said Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO). “I applaud the extension of the Compacts of Free Association (COFA), which establish national security arrangements, including military bases, in the Western Pacific that help us protect our allies and counter the growing influence of adversaries like China.  The inclusion of COFA in this Appropriations package extends and deepens our vital relationships in the Pacific Islands and reaffirms our commitment to supporting partner nations in what remains a strategically important region.”

“The Freely Associated States (FAS) have been historical partners of the U.S., including many FAS citizens who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA). “The Compacts of Free Association (COFA) renewal is an important reaffirmation of the unbreakable bonds between the U.S. and the FAS – particularly at a time of increased aggression in the region by the People’s Republic of China. I applaud the renewal of the COFA and look forward to increasing cooperation and strengthening ties between the U.S. and our historic partners in the FAS.”

The legislation continues to affirm the COFA states’ sovereignty and deep friendship with the U.S., and ensure U.S. defense of an area of the Pacific waters the size of the contiguous 48 U.S. states. The COFA funding is within a package of 2024 appropriations bills, passed by the House on Wednesday with a vote of 339-85.