THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - November 05, 2021

Nov 7, 2021


VA Board for island vets advances 

Marianas veterans and their comrades in the other insular areas would have a direct line to the Secretary of Veterans’ Affair through a new advisory board created by my legislation, H.R. 3730, approved for a House vote on Thursday. The Veterans’ Affairs Committee favorably reported my bill, which gives veterans from the Marianas, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the USVI, and the Freely Associated States a formal voice within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to recommend improvements in delivery of benefits and services to insular veterans. At the Committee meeting, I highlighted the unique barriers for insular veterans to receive the help that veterans elsewhere in America take for granted. The Committee also favorably reported the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act, which expands eligibility for VA educational benefits to more reservists and guard members. I am a cosponsor. The bills can now go to the House for a vote.

NMI bills piggyback on Defense Act

The House and Senate conference committee agreed to include a number of Northern Marianas bills in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act Thursday. The NDAA, which has passed without fail for 59 straight years, is one of the best opportunities to piggyback legislation.

Bill increases FY2017 CW cap

Tuesday, I introduced H.R. 6401, the Northern Mariana Islands Economic Expansion Act, to increase the number of CW permits for FY 2017 to 15,000, the same level as FY 2013. The bill provides short-term relief to those employers unable to apply for CW permits, since applications closed abruptly in October.

Insular Delegates protest proposed changes to Upward Bound/TRIO funding

Along with the rest of the insular area delegation, I wrote to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, urging him to reconsider a recent proposal that would reduce expenditures for the Upward Bound/TRIO program and make it harder for the insular areas to compete for grant funds.



Public Comments:


  • H.R. 3469 - Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act (passed, 418-2)
  • H.R. 4256 - Investing in Main Street Act of 2021 (passed, 413-10)
  • H.R. 3462 - SBA Cyber Awareness Act of 2021 (passed, 423-0)


The House is in recess for the Committee Work Week.