THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - October 25, 2019

Oct 29, 2019

In this issue:

• Academy nominations now open

• 10/28 deadline for re-parole

• More time to replace food stamps

• Friends of Trench awarded $250,720

• Welcome Co-Op Intern Ayleen Castro

• We reject the Insular Cases

• Health centers need stable funding

• Kilili Time Capsule

• Opportunities

• Legislative Highlights

_______________________________________

10/28 deadline for re-parole

The 1,039, who may be eligible for permanent status in the Marianas, provided by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Residents Relief Act, are reminded October 28 is the deadline to apply to extend their temporary parole status. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services extended an automatic 120-day temporary parole after the Act, Public Law 116-24, was signed and gave parolees until October 28, to submit a re-parole request to maintain their status. The agency said the automatic extension gave it time to set up procedures to apply for a new permanent status the Act provides. But, so far, the Trump administration has not issued the necessary regulations. I wrote Public Law 116-24 to provide permanent status in the Marianas for parents and spouses of U.S. citizens, in-home caregivers, the stateless, and immediate relatives of persons granted permanent status by CNMI immigration law. All 1,039 were granted humanitarian parole, when U.S. immigration law first came into effect in the Marianas. But the Trump administration ended that parole program last December. There is no fee to file the re-parole request.

More time to replace food stamps

Households on Rota, Tinian, or Saipan that lost food stamps or food purchased with food stamps in Typhoon Hagibis have more time to ask for replacement. The U.S. Agriculture Department gave the CNMI Nutrition Assistance Program permission  to extend the reporting period to November 6. Up to 50 percent, or $484,530, of the food stamps issued in the weeks prior to Hagibis may be replaced. Agriculture said the CNMI must notify the eligible households in person or by mail of the extended reporting period and the requirements for replacement eligibility.

Friends of Trench awarded $250,720

Congratulations to Friends of the Marianas Trench on the award of $250,720 from the Administration for Native Americans for Project HOPE. The Project, Health Oceans and People Empowerment, will set up an intergenerational exchange of ocean stewardship practices from Chamorro and Carolinian elders to PSS 6th grade students. Over the Project’s 36 months students will participate in ocean science club activities, increasing knowledge and awareness of how traditional culture respected the ocean and, hopefully, leading the students to careers in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. Also, awarded $147,755 in funding was the CNMI Public School System. Congratulations, PSS and FOTM!

We reject the Insular Cases

The “Insular Cases,” decided in 1901 by the same Supreme Court that upheld segregation laws, have no place in modern day America. In these cases the Supreme Court calls people living in U.S. territories “alien” and “savage and restless people,” antiquated notions of racial inferiority that should not be the basis of any contemporary court decisions. The Resolution I introduced, along with Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas, and Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett recognizes these racist and imperialist assumptions for what they are. H.Res 641 rejects the Insular Cases and affirms the importance of equal rights for Americans everywhere, even in the U.S. insular areas. Nor is this just a feel-good resolution. This month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of appointments to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. Our resolution is a warning to the Court not to use the Insular Cases to base its judgement.

Health centers need stable funding

Kagman Community Health Center, the soon-to-be Tinian Community Health Center, and community health centers nationwide would do better, if Congress provided predictable, stable, long-term funding. That was the message I sent to House and Senate leadership this week along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts). We want an extension of the Community Health Center Fund for at least five years, along with long-term funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program and the National Health Service Corps that support community health centers. These proposals are set out in H.R. 1943, the Community Health Center and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act of 2019, on which I am an original cosponsor.

OPPORTUNITIES

Jobs

LEGISLATIVE HIGHLIGHTS

THIS WEEK

  • H.R. 4406 - Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2019 (Passed, 375-25)
  • H.R. 2426 – CASE Act of 2019 (Passed, 410-6)
  • H.R. 724 – Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (Passed by voice vote)
 
 
NEXT WEEK
 
  • H.R. 1306 - Federal Disaster Assistance Coordination Act, as amended
  • H.R. 2781 – EMPOWER Health Act of 2019
  • H.R. 4334 – Dignity in Aging Act, as amended
 
Committee Activity
Tuesday, October 29
  • House Veterans' Affairs Committee will hold a full committee markup on pending legislation.
  • The Subcommittee on Water, Oceans & Wildlife will hold an oversight hearing titled, "A Sea of Problems: Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Oceans and Wildlife."
  • House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full committee markup on the College Affordability Act
 
Wednesday, October 30
  • House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold an oversight hearing titled, “Native Veterans' Access to Healthcare.”
  • House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs will hold an oversight hearing titled, “Preparing for Blue Water Claims - VA Status Update on Implementation.”
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on PROMESA.