THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - January 8, 2016

Jan 11, 2016

In this issue:

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Republicans want to cut insular Medicaid.

President Obama vetoed today Republican legislation that cut Medicaid funding for the Northern Mariana Islands by an estimated $26 million. Medicaid for the other insular areas — American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands — would also have been cut. The vetoed bill passed the House this week with Republicans all voting to cut insular Medicaid funding, Democrats all voting against it. I worked very hard to get that money into the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. It increased NMI Medicaid from about $50 million to $158 million through the period ending in 2019 — a three-fold jump. That money has been essential to keeping the Commonwealth Health Center open after the Commonwealth government took away its local funding. Health Center executive officer Esther Muna told the Saipan Tribune the Republican bill “would be devastating for our people, the hospital and the entire health care system.” Governor Ralph Torres echoed that concern. “To reduce the federal funding for this important program that provides for lower-income households in the CNMI is a disservice to the disproportionate amount of the population living under the federal poverty guidelines,” the Governor said. I agree with the Governor and thank President Obama for his action.

Another sign of recovery.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that it will close its Disaster Loan Outreach Center on Capitol Hill on Saipan at the close of business on Monday, January 11. SBA has approved more than $10.9 million in low interest disaster loans to Saipan businesses and more than $13.3 million to individuals, the agency said. And, though the deadline to apply for property damage loans has expired, small businesses and nonprofits may continue to apply for working capital loans of up to $2 million. These Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available even if no property damage occurred to the business or nonprofit and may be used to pay fixed debt, payroll, and other bills that cannot be covered because of Typhoon Soudelor. The interest rate is 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for private nonprofits with terms up to 30 years. The deadline for EIDL applications is May 5, 2016. Apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, call: 800.659.2955, or e-mail: disastercustomerassistance@sba.gov.

Opportunites - Federal grants, jobs for and in the Marianas:

Grants:

  • Accountable Health Communities – The Accountable Health Communities model provides funding opportunities to community based organizations, healthcare providers practices, hospitals and health systems, institutions of higher education, local government entities, and local and national entities for the purpose of testing whether systematically identifying the health-related social needs of community-dwelling Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and addressing their identified needs impacts those beneficiaries. Current closing date is March 31, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=280812.
  • Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program – Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) assist health care organizations, health care networks and health care providers in the implementation of cost-effective telehealth programs to serve rural and medically underserved areas and populations. Current closing date is March 4, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=280809.
  • Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement – This program supports rural providers engaged in quality improvement initiatives through evidence-based quality improvement models, tests of change focused on improvement and use of health information technology to collect and report data. Current closing date is March 4, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=280808.
  • Improving Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking – This program furthers the Department of Justice’s mission by encouraging partnerships between governments, courts, victim service providers, coalitions and rape crisis centers, to ensure that sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are treated as serious violations of criminal law requiring the coordinated involvement of the entire criminal justice system and community-based victim service organizations. Current closing date is March 3, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=280869.

Jobs:

  • Store Workers – The Defense Commissary Agency, Department of Defense is accepting applications for Store Workers in Guam. Incumbents will maintain adequate stock, identify spoilage, damage, and out-of-date merchandise, receive supplies and items, operate computer system, and transport and display store items. Position is open until March 31, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/424794700.
  • Sales Store Checkers – The Defense Commissary Agency, Department of Defense is accepting applications for Sales Store Checkers in Guam. Incumbents will operate an electronic system, manage change machines, assist customers, and manage self-check-out registers. Position is open until March 31, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/424794400.
  • Medical Administrative Assistant – The Air Force Reserve Command is accepting applications for a Medical Administrative Assistant in Guam. The primary purpose of this Air Reserve Technician Enlisted position is to serve as a Medical Administrative Assistant who will accomplish a variety of duties involving assisting in determining unit's readiness and capability to perform its peacetime/wartime mission. Position is open until January 11, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/425337800.
  • Operations Technician – The Air Force Reserve Command is accepting applications for an Operations Technician in Guam. The primary purpose of this Air Reserve Technician Enlisted position is to serve as an Operations Technician assisting the aviation resource management specialist in managing flying operations resources. Position is open until January 11, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/425348400.
  • Human Resources Assistant – The Air Force Reserve Command is accepting applications for a Human Resource Assistant in Guam. The primary purpose of this Air Reserve Technician Enlisted position is to serve as a Human Resources Assistant accomplishing military personnel functions within the unit personnel activity and to train reservists in the accomplishment of such tasks. Position is open until January 11, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/425349600.
  • Executive Officer – The Air Force Reserve Command is accepting applications for an Executive Officer in Guam. The primary purpose of this Air Reserve Technician Officer position is to serve as an Executive Officer or the group senior ART. The incumbent will administer and direct the group's executive support functions and ensure that day-to-day operations comply with the policies of the senior ART and the command. Position is open until January 11, 2016. For more information, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/425438800.
Highlights in the Legislative Program

THIS WEEK:

On the floor

  • H.R.3762 – Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (Agreed to the Senate amendment, 240-181)
  • H.R.1155 – SCRUB Act of 2015 (Passed, 245-174)
  • H.R.712 – Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015 (Passed, 244-173)
  • H.R.1927 – Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015 (Passed, 211-188)

Co-sponsored Legislation

  • H.R.4345 – To expand the eligibility of individuals from Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau for participation in National Service Programs, and for other purposes

NEXT WEEK:

On the floor

  • H.R.757 – North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act
  • H.R.3662 – Iran Terror Transparency Act
  • S.J.Res.22 – A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.