THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS- May 13, 2022

May 15, 2022

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$1.5M for workforce training

The Marianas is receiving $1,562,734 for job training and career services, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration announced Friday. $453,848 will go toward youth, $429,597 for adult, and $679,289 to dislocated workers. This support includes counseling, work search assistance, and development of individual employment plans. The youth funds rolled out on April 1, 2022. Adult and dislocated worker funds will be available in two separate appropriations: base funds on July 1, 2022 and advance funds on October 1, 2022. The $1.5 million award comes from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Anti-poverty bill ups insular funding

Funding for the Marianas and other insular areas would increase, if the Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act, passed by the House today, is approved by the  Senate and signed by the President. I added language to the bill requiring a data-based formula for allocating funds to the insular areas during markup by the Education and Labor Committee. Under current law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has total discretion to allocate CSBG funding based on what he or she “believes” the need is in each insular area. A data-based, regularly updated formula should ensure Marianas individuals and families in poverty see increased support. The Community Services Block Grant is the only federal program with the overarching goal of reducing poverty, regardless of cause or condition. Since its creation, it has helped people in need achieve economic stability, secure meaningful employment and education, gain and improve job-related skills, and obtain housing. H.R. 5129 improves and expands the CSBG by increasing overall funding for the program and updating its income eligibility guidelines. I am a cosponsor of the measure.

Better benefits for TSA workers

Transportation Security Agency workers in the Marianas and nationwide would have greater opportunities for advancements in pay and new collective bargaining and disciplinary appeal rights under terms of legislation the House of Representatives passed on Thursday. I am a cosponsor of the Rights for the TSA Workforce Act, H.R. 903, which transitions the TSA workforce to the title 5 personnel pay and benefits system used by most other federal agencies. Unlike the title 5 General Schedule pay system, TSA’s current pay scale does not include regular annual increases. H.R. 903 also requires TSA to provide a one-time, hazardous duty bonus payment to employees, who are in substantial contact with the public during the COVID-19 national emergency. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

$270k for Saipan airport fencing

The Commonwealth Ports Authority has been awarded a $270,000 grant for use at the Francisco C. Ada Saipan International Airport, the Department of Transportation announced Thursday. Grant funds will be used to reconstruct 26,778 feet of the existing perimeter fencing to deter access by unauthorized persons and vehicles onto the airfield. Congratulations to CPA.

Rescue Plan $482m available now

$481,876,521 from the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds are now available for the Northern Mariana Islands. The U.S. Treasury announced the allocation of funds on Monday and opened the application portal. Congress appropriated $4.5 billion for the U.S. insular areas in the Rescue Plan on March 11. Half the money was divided evenly among the five areas, the other half was divided by population, a formula very favorable to the Marianas.

Against All Odds award - Cremson Norita

Cremson Nathan Norita received the "Against All Odds" award at the Linala Malawasch Academy of Hopwood Middle School on Wednesday. PSS Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero joined me for the presentation.

Congressional services now available every week in Kagman

Kagman Kommunidat Association President Daniel Huh and I have been working over the last several months to make congressional services more accessible to residents of Kagman and nearby communities.  The details have all been worked out and a Kagman Annex of your congressional office is now open every Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Kagman Community Center.

Grants:

Jobs/Internships:

Public Comments:

THIS WEEK

  • H.R. 903 – Rights for the TSA Workforce Act of 2022 (passed, 220-201)
  • H.R. 2499 – Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022 (passed, 288-131)
  • H.R. 5129 – Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022 (passed, 246-169)

NEXT WEEK

  • H.R. 7309 – Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022
  • H.R. 7688 – Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act
  • H.R. 6531 – Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act of 2022