THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - January 21, 2022

Jan 23, 2022

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Vets education funding available 

The Defense Department has live streamed a tutorial for wives and husbands of service members about how new funding made possible by my Military Spouse Career Education Act can help cover the cost of a college degree. The bill was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The tutorial discusses how eligible military spouses can use the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship to pay for College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams which earn college credit, enable degrees to be finished more quickly, and can be taken remotely or at Northern Marianas College. MyCAA also provides eligible spouses up to $4,000 for licenses, certifications, or associate degrees. Learn more about MyCAA here.

Marianas sanctuary comments sought 

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is conducting a review of the Mariana Trench National Marine Sanctuary nomination and is seeking public comment. In 2016, Governor Torres and I asked President Obama to designate the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument as a National Marine Sanctuary. In March 2017, the Monument was officially included in the national inventory for potential sanctuary designation after NOAA agreed it met national significance criteria and management considerations. After nearly five years on the inventory, NOAA has yet to initiate a designation process and the nomination is set to expire on March 13, 2022. The five-year review will determine if the nomination continues to meet the 11 criteria on national significance and should remain on the inventory. NOAA is now accepting public comments to gather new or updated information. A virtual public meeting will be held to gather input on Saturday, February 12, 10am-12pm Chamorro Standard Time. Registration is available here. For more information about the sanctuary nomination or five-year review process, visit nominate.noaa.gov.

Federal Reserve: 482 Marianas PPP loans 

Marianas businesses received 482 Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to data provided to your congressional office by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco this week. The forgivable loans were worth about $40 million in total. Congress created the PPP loans to help small businesses weather the pandemic, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which we first passed in the House in July 2019 and which was signed into law in March 2020. Retailers and hotel and food service businesses in the Marianas were the largest users of the program, which was administered by local banks. Of the 482 loans 12 went to small businesses on Tinian and 13 to Rota, the Federal Reserve reported.

Looking ahead to the 117th Congress

On Monday, I shared a video message for you, my constituents, to reflect on the recent events at the Capitol and reaffirm my oath to work for you.

902 team reports

Congratulations to Governor Torres and his Section 902 team for successfully concluding their consultations with release of a final Report to the President. President Obama was represented in the discussions by Interior Assistant Secretary Esther P. Kia’aina.

Rota Park study bill set for U.S. House approval

H.R. 1141, my bill authorizing the Secretary of Interior to consider areas on Rota for designation as a National Park, is scheduled for House floor consideration today.  Interior has already determined in a 2005 survey that Rota has archaeological, historic, and natural features that are of “national significance.”

Grants:

Jobs:

Public Comments:

THIS WEEK

  • S. 2959 - Supplemental Impact Aid Flexibility Act (passed, 414-6)
  • H.R. 4673 - EVEST Act (passed, 265-163)
  • S. 1404 – Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act (passed by voice vote)
  • S. 452 – Willie O'Ree Congressional Gold Medal Act (passed, 426-0)
  • Senate Amendment to H.R. 1192 – Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021 (passed by voice vote)

NEXT WEEK

The House is in recess for the District Work Period.