THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - 7/20/12

Jul 20, 2012

In this issue:

  • Military pay raise, cleanup funds in Defense appropriations
  • MINA awarded grant to monitor NMI fish resources
  • DLNR receives Brown Tree Snake funding
  • Palau bill solidifying U.S. commitment moves forward
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Federal contracts, grants, and jobs for and in the Marianas
  • Highlights in the Legislative Program

Military pay raise, cleanup funds in Defense appropriations.

Members of the U.S. armed services would receive a 1.7% pay raise under terms of the FY13 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. The House passed the spending bill, H.R. 5856, by a vote of 326 - 90 this week. The $519.2 billion appropriation increases funding by $1.1 billion over the current year, $3.1 billion more than President Obama requested. Also appropriated is $237.5 million for the decontamination of formerly used defense sites, of which there are now nine in the Northern Marianas following the completion of the I Denni cleanup this year. The report accompanying H.R. 5856 includes my language urging the Secretary of Defense to adopt the Armyís policy regarding territorial flags. On Army installations, where the official flags of all 50 states are on display, the flags of the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories must also be displayed. I want that policy to apply throughout the Armed Services.

See a video of the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington produced by Shaneika Lai, who is interning this summer at the office of Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo.

MINA awarded grant to monitor NMI fish resources.

The Mariana Islands Nature Alliance has been awarded $14,000 to track the health of local fish stocks and promote awareness of factors that lead to their decline. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta announced the award this week. The conservation group "Rare," along with other nongovernmental organizations, will be working in partnership with MINA to gather data in the Garapan area. Fishing remains an important source of food for our people and an integral part of our culture. Thanks to the hard working staff and volunteers of MINA for helping us all understand and protect this vital resource for our use today and for future generations.

DLNR receives Brown Tree Snake funding.

The Office of Insular Affairs also announced this week distribution of the bulk of the $2.995 million that Congress has appropriated for fiscal 2012 brown tree snake control. The CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources received $366,579 to operate its interdiction program. The Guam Department of Agriculture was allocated $200,000 to continue efforts to restore native bird species wiped out by the snake on Guam. $262,420 went to Hawaiiís Department of Agriculture also for snake interdiction and for the state's detector dog program. Other funding goes to federal agencies involved in research and planning activities related to eradication of the brown tree snake threat to U.S. islands.

Palau bill solidifying U.S. commitment moves forward.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs moved to renew the U.S. commitment to the Republic of Palau for another 15 years by approving H.R. 6040 this week. The Continued Free Association with Palau Act of 2012 enshrines an agreement between Palau and the United States, which provides financial assistance to the Republic through 2024. In exchange, Palau remains part of a network of strategic military alignments in the western Pacific. As a co-sponsor of this important legislation and also Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, which is the next stop in the legislative process, I am working with the Majority to move the Palau bill to completion as quickly as possible.

OPPORTUNITIES: Federal contracts, grants, and jobs for and in the Marianas

GRANTS:

  • Farm Labor Housing Grants - The USDA Rural Development is soliciting applications for the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant program which provides capital financing for the development of housing units for domestic farm laborers. Housing is intended for any domestic farm laborer who receives a substantial portion of his/her income from the primary production of processed or unprocessed agricultural or aquacultural commodities. Closing date is September 17, 2012. For more information, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/mfh/brief_mfh_flh.htm.
  • Model Design and Model Testing Assistance - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is soliciting applications for the State Innovation Models initiative to test whether new payment and service delivery models will produce superior results when implemented in the context of a state-sponsored State Health Care Innovation Plan. These Plans must improve health, improve health care, and lower costs for citizens through a sustainable model of multi-payer payment and delivery reform, and must be dedicated to delivering the right care at the right time in the right setting. Closing date is September 17, 2012. For more information, go to https://www.grantsolutions.gov/gs/preaward/previewPublicAnnouncement.do?id=15478.
  • Homeland Security National Training Program - The Department of Homeland Security ñ FEMA is soliciting applications for the Homeland Security National Training Program ñ National Domestic Preparedness Consortium which provides funds to support nationwide training initiatives. Based upon their current activities and identified needs, the National Preparedness Directorate will invite select organizations to be eligible to apply under this solicitation. Closing date is August 16, 2012. For more information, go to http://www.grants.gov.

JOBS:

  • Education Research Analyst - The Department of Defense Education Activity is accepting applications for an Education Research Analyst in Guam. Incumbent performs duties at the district and school level conducting and writing summative reports of data analysis; and develops and delivers modules and data templates for training principals, teachers, parents, and other district personnel. Job position is open until August 17, 2012. For more information, go to http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/321940100.

Highlights in the Legislative Program

THIS WEEK

On the floor

H.R.5872 - Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (Passed 414-2)

H.R.5856 - Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013 (Passed 326-90)

H.R.6018 - Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013 (Passed 333-61)

S.2009 - Insular Areas Act of 2011 (Passed 378-11)

NEXT WEEK

On the floor

H.R.459 - Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011

H.R.6082 - Congressional Replacement of President Obama's Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan

H.R.4078 - Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012

Committee Hearings

July 24

  • Committee on Natural Resources oversight hearing on The Impact of Catastrophic Forest Fires and Litigation on People and Endangered Species: Time for Rational Management of our Nation's Forests

July 25

  • Committee on Agriculture hearing on the Oversight of the Swaps and Futures Markets: Recent Events and Impending Regulatory Reforms