Financial Services, Interior and Environment, and State and Foreign Operations appropriations bills move forward

Jul 18, 2014

The fiscal 2015 appropriations process advanced several pieces of funding legislation. We highlight the legislative action and funding decisions important to the Northern Mariana Islands:

  • The House Appropriations Committee approved my request in the Interior and Environment spending bill for 1.5% of the water and sewer funds to be set aside for the insular areas, which is about five times more than what current law sets aside. The increase in the set aside allocation will help soften the impact since the overall funding for water and wastewater programs were decreased compared to the FY14 enacted level. Moreover, the Committee continued funding for the Assistance to Territories program at about the same level as last year. The program supports Capital Improvement Project funding as well as technical assistance grants to the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • The House of Representatives this week also passed H.R. 5016 - Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2015 that includes $8 million for SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program to help support small businesses with trade promotion. It also includes $115 million for Small Business Development Centers that includes the support for our local SBDC in providing assistance to small businesses. In addition, the bill contains a report language noting the absence of services in the insular areas provided by the Women’s Business Centers and recommended that SBA includes the insular areas in the WBC services. These important programs are part of a joint member submission to the House Appropriations Committee by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, of which I am a member.
  • House appropriations approved $379 million to support the Peace Corps program under the State and Foreign Operations spending bill. I support the Peace Corps mission having seen firsthand the good work of volunteers who served in Saipan in the 60s and 70s.