THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - Fostering good relations with China

Feb 19, 2018

This week in Congress- February 16, 2018

  • Fostering good relations with China
  • Dems want school shootings hearing
  • Taking the lead on opioid crisis
  • U.S. Workforce Act explained #2
  • Hoyer briefs CAPAC on immigration
  • FY19 budget: $51M for Tinian divert
  • Vets Committee looks at budget
  • VBA coming to Saipan


Dems want school shootings hearing

Once again, children died this week in a place they should feel most safe and secure – their school. Once again, we can offer our prayers and sympathies – or we can act. All 17 Democratic members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce called on Committee Chair Virginia Foxx to at least hold a hearing on school shootings. Read our letter here. School safety is under the jurisdiction of the Committee and with over 230 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, the time to take responsibility is long overdue.

U.S. Workforce Act explained #2

Last week I wrote about how the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act protects local workers from unfair competition from CW permit holders and boosts effectiveness of the training funds employers pay. Continuing that deep dive this week, I want to point out the increased role for our Governor, who the bill allows to recommend that CW permits be set aside for specific, highly valued occupations. I also want to remind everyone that the transition period is more than just the CW program. The extra 10 years granted in my bill also mean:

  1. The Marianas will not be limited by the national cap on H visas (see this week’s announcement on Imperial Pacific’s use of this benefit).
  2. Foreign investors originally given status in the Marianas by our own local immigration law will keep their E-2C visas.
  3. The bar on claims of asylum in the Marianas continues through 2029, without which we would not have the benefit of hundreds of thousands of tourists from China each year.

Keeping these three key provisions is why I worked so hard to get the extension from 2014 through 2019 in U.S. Public Law 113-235 and made sure we keep them through 2029 in the U.S. Workforce Act.

FY19 budget: $51M for Tinian divert

President Trump sent his Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal to Congress on Monday. It includes $50.7 million for the Tinian divert airfield. Governor Ralph Torres and Tinian Mayor Joey San Nicolas have signed off on this project of the U.S. Air Force. $46 million is to build the cargo pad and taxiway extension. $4.7 million is for a maintenance support facility. The President’s budget also funds Education Title I grant funds for low-income schools at FY18 levels, which means the Marianas Public School System should continue to receive the $4 million increase I was able to secure in the formula change of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The budget request continues the important Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water programs that have brought some $60 million to the Marianas over the last decade. But the President proposes less for these programs than in last year’s budget. And the Office of Insular Affairs at the Interior Department, which provides targeted funding to the Marianas, will have its budget chipped away under the President’s proposal. Along with other House offices, we will begin inputting our program priorities and recommended funding levels to the Appropriations Committee beginning next week. We focus our votes on the programs most important to the Marianas.




Public Comment:




On the Floor

  • H.R. 620 – ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (Passed, 225-192)
  • H.R. 3299 – Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 (Passed, 245-171) 
  • H.R. 3978 – TRID Improvement Act of 2017 (Passed, 271-145)
  • H.R. 3542 – Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (Passed, 415-0)
  • H.R. 4376 – Department of Energy Research Infrastructure Act 0f 2018 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4377 – Accelerating American Leadership in Science Act of 2018 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4378 – Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act of 2018 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4675 – Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2018 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3397 – Building Blocks of STEM Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.Res. 129 – Calling on the Department of Defense, other elements of the Federal Government, and foreign governments to intensify efforts to investigate, recover, and identify all missing and unaccounted-for personnel of the United States (Passed, 411-0)


The House is on recess for the District Work Period.