THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - January 20,2023

Jan 22, 2023


Supporting at-risk veterans 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that veterans in acute suicidal crisis will now be able to go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for emergency healthcare at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit. With this policy in place, VA will be able to 

  • provide, pay for, or reimburse for treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care;
  • make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care;
  • determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits; and
  • refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.

Veterans in crisis can contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive 24/7 confidential support. Again, veterans do not have to be enrolled in VA benefits or healthcare to connect. To reach responders, Dial 988 then Press 1, chat online at, or text 838255. Veterans may contact their congressional office on Saipan, Tinian, or Rota for assistance.

Cracking down on human trafficking 

On Friday, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and I reintroduced the Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act. This bipartisan bill would ensure that U.S. Department of Labor employees receive the proper training to recognize instances of human trafficking and refer these cases to law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, the Marianas is not immune from the impacts of human trafficking. Unscrupulous companies operating in the Marianas have used deceptive recruiting practices to lure workers to low-paying jobs and unsafe working conditions. Some of these problems have been addressed, but we must remain vigilant and give federal agencies the tools they need to better protect the most vulnerable in our nation’s workforce. I look forward to working with Rep. Walberg to advance this bipartisan bill through Congress.

Medicaid cap repeal gains support

The Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act now has 43 cosponsors and gained the support of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. ASTHO wrote: “U.S. Territories should not have to rely on supplemental, temporary funding to provide quality healthcare to their residents. Prioritizing this legislation in the 117th session of Congress supports our vision of advancing health equity and optimal health for all.”

Sablan, Murkowski intro CW bill

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and I introduced the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act. The bill gives the Marianas access to foreign labor for another 10 years and allows for 13,000 CW workers. The bill also creates a new category to give long-time foreign workers more certainty.

Northern Marianas regains Education, Workforce Subcommittee seats

By virtue of my seniority I was able to reclaim a seat on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education for the Northern Mariana Islands.  Education is key to the long-term development of our people and our economy, so I want to be part of federal decisions on education from infancy through high school.



Public comments:


The House is in recess for the District Work Period.


  • H.R.21 – Strategic Production Response Act
  • H.R.255 – To amend the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 to develop a study regarding streamlining and consolidating information collection and preliminary damage assessments.
  • H.Con.Res.7Commending the bravery, courage, and resolve of the women and men of Iran demonstrating in more than 133 cities and risking their safety to speak out against the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses, as amended.