THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS- August 12, 2022

Aug 15, 2022

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Biden signs PACT Act

President Biden signed the Honoring our PACT Act into law Wednesday, securing access to life-saving care for the 3.5 million veterans exposed to deadly toxins in the line of duty. The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun honoring claims reflecting the 23 new conditions and cancers included in the legislation to qualify for presumptive eligibility for VA benefits. Veterans can access the list of qualifying conditions here: https://www.va.gov/pact. As an original cosponsor of the PACT Act, I have fought alongside the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and veteran service organizations for the passage of this legislation, so toxic exposed veterans in the Marianas and elsewhere can receive the care they deserve.

VA Dep Secretary to visit Marianas

Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Donald Remy, and I met virtually on Wednesday to discuss his upcoming trip and the VA’s recent efforts to improve services for Marianas veterans. Deputy Secretary Remy informed me that he plans to visit the Marianas this month and that they are actively working on the successful rollout of the Caregivers program in our islands. I congratulated Deputy Secretary Remy on the passage of the PACT Act, as this marks a major victory for veterans across the country. I look forward to hosting Deputy Secretary Remy during his visit and continuing to work with him to serve our veterans.

Insular teacher awards bill now law                                

One science or math teacher from the Marianas can be selected each year for a Presidential Award for Excellence under provisions of a bill I wrote that the President signed into law Tuesday. The selected Marianas teacher will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and will participate in expert-led training and collaboration opportunities in Washington. Currently, Marianas teachers must compete with teachers from American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands for the annual prize. My STEM Educator Awards Equity Act makes the Presidential Award available in each of these insular areas and was included in the CHIPS and Science Act, H.R. 4346, passed by Congress last month. H.R. 4346 makes historic investments to strengthen American manufacturing, supply chains, research, and development of our science and technology workforce. Read more about the CHIPS and Science Act here.

$3.1m for Saipan port improvements

The Commonwealth Ports Authority is receiving $3,135,000 in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) Grant funding, the Department of Transportation announced Thursday. The RAISE grant funds will be used to study navigational improvements for two potential future projects in the Saipan Harbor. The first prospective project is to extend Charlie Dock. The second is to dredge the entrance channel, turning basin, north and south seaplane ramps, and Echo Dock areas to allow larger vessels to dock at the port, including cruise ships, ferries, and bulk vessels. The projects aim to address safety challenges, expand port capacity, and boost economic competitiveness. Congratulations to CPA.

$1.2m for CHCC lab improvements

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation was awarded a $1,200,000 Community Project Funding grant for the modernization of their laboratories, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday. With lessons learned during the pandemic, the need for updated lab equipment will help the Commonwealth be better prepared for infectious disease in the future. Congratulations, CHCC!

$121k for coral restoration

Johnston Applied Marine Science is receiving a continuing Ruth Gates Coral Restoration Innovation grant worth $120,907, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday. The grant funds are being used to test a new settlement substrate for coral larvae to scale up coral restoration efforts through the outplanting of juvenile corals. This multi-year project aims to build capacity, improve coral resilience, and implement coral sexual propagation in the Northern Marianas. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program is funded annually by Congress, receiving $33 million in FY 2022. Congratulations to JAMS.

Welcome, visitors!

Jaqueline Doctor, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Miller Bundoc, Nate Snodgrass, Michael Ortizo, and Athena Tiu (l-r) visited their congressional office in Washington Monday. The group consists of friends from the class of 2017 who met at Mount Carmel School. Jaqueline is attending nursing school at Augusta University in Georgia; HM3 Bundoc is a Corpsman in the U.S. Navy currently stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia; Nate lives and works in Denver, Colorado; Michael is attending law school at Syracuse University; and Athena is studying nutrition at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Nate and Michael are return visitors of the office, having interned in the Saipan and DC offices, respectively. We arranged a tour of the Capitol for the group. Thank you all for stopping by!

Families receive P-EBT

The Marianas received $11.1 million for the P-EBT program through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Connecting Veterans with Choice

To help veterans learn how the Choice program allows them to go to private providers for their health care needs, we hosted workshops on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. More than 80 veterans and family members attended, as well as over 50 representatives from the hospital, community health centers, and private clinics.

USPS expands pick-up hours

The U.S. Postal Service informed your congressional office this week that packages will now be available at any time NMI post offices are open for business.

Grants:

  • Regional Ocean Partnership and Data Sharing
  • Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
  • Energizing Insular Communities
  • FEMA Public Assistance for Safe Opening and Operating of Schools 
  • FEMA 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program
  • Emergency Rural Health Care Funds
  • Indigenous Communities Program (EDA)

Jobs:

Public comments:

THIS WEEK

The House was in Recess for the District Work Period.

NEXT WEEK

The House is in Recess for the District Work Period.