THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - September 06, 2019

Sep 9, 2019

REAL ID for FAS citizens

Combating PFAS contamination

$4.3m for disaster road repairs

Opioid funding for CHCC

$487k for coral reef conservation

VA benefits counselor visit - 9/24

Opportunities

Legislative highlights

REAL ID for FAS citizens

Citizens of the Freely Associated States will have an easier time getting REAL ID drivers licenses and identification cards, necessary to enter federal facilities or board commercial airline flights. In response to a request from a number of us in the House and Senate, the Department of Homeland Security amended its REAL ID Act regulations. FAS citizens will now be able to obtain full-term REAL ID licenses and identification cards. They will also be allowed to use an unexpired passport with a valid I-94 issued under the Compacts of Free Association to meet REAL ID Act proof-of-identity requirements. The REAL ID Act of 2005 set national security standards for state-issued licenses and ID cards.

Combating PFAS contamination

To help address the health risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), I joined 161 bipartisan Members on a letter asking National Defense Authorization Act conferees to retain provisions that address PFAS contamination and cleanup challenges at military bases and surrounding communities. PFAS, a toxic class of chemicals linked to cancer and infertility, has created significant public health challenges across the country including the Northern Marianas. PFAS chemicals have been commonly used because of their ability to repel oil and water and can be found in nonstick products, paints, stains and water repellents, cleaning products, food packaging, and firefighting foams. House and Senate versions of the NDAA contain provisions that would examine the scope of contamination through reporting and monitoring, reduce or eliminate sources of PFAS pollution, remediate PFAS contamination in military communities, and designate PFAS as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. These measures are necessary to protect the health of all Americans from the dangers of PFAS and should be retained in the 2020 NDAA conference agreement.

$4.3m for disaster road repairs

The CNMI Department of Public Works is receiving $4,269,064 in Emergency Relief program funds, the Federal Highway Administration announced Thursday. These grant funds, which I ensured the Marianas would be eligible for in the disaster relief appropriations package, Public Law 116-20, will be used for the repair or reconstruction of our federal-aid highways that suffered serious damage resulting from Super Typhoon Yutu. Eligible repair work includes emergency repairs needed to restore essential traffic, minimize the extent of damage, or protect facilities, as well as permanent repairs necessary to restore highways to pre-disaster conditions. Congratulations to DPW.

Opioid funding for CHCC

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation will receive $1,015,000 as part of a new grant award to advance the understanding of the opioid overdose epidemic and to scale-up prevention and response activities. The three-year cooperative agreement will support CHCC in obtaining high-quality, more comprehensive, and timelier data on overdose morbidity and mortality – and use those data to inform prevention and response efforts. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also announced the second year-round of funding for the State Opioid Response Grants. The Commonwealth will receive $250,000 to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services.


$487k for coral reef conservation

The CNMI Division of Coastal Resources Management, Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, is receiving $487,000 in 2019 Coral Reef Conservation Program funding, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. Appropriated by Congress, CRCP grant funds support salaries and CNMI Coral Reef Initiative projects which include increasing community awareness of coral reefs through education and outreach, restoration projects in priority watersheds, enhancing management effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas, long-term monitoring of coral reef health, and restoring damaged coral reefs. The award also supports student internships to increase the capacity of the Commonwealth’s natural resource management agencies. The grant award is the first part of a two-year $934,000 grant. Congratulations to DCRM.

OPPORTUNITIES

Grants:

LEGISLATIVE HIGHLIGHTS

THIS WEEK

The House is in recess for the District Work Period.

NEXT WEEK

  • H.R. 1941 – Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act
  • H.R. 1146 – Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act
  • H.R. 205 – Protecting and Securing Florida's Coastline Act of 2019

Committee Activity

Tuesday, September 10

  • Committee on Veterans Affairs holding their annual Member Day
  • Committee on Natural Resources will hold an Oversight Hearing titled, “BLM Disorganization: Examining the Proposed Reorganization and Relocation of the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado.”

Wednesday, September 11

  • House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold a legislative hearing on pending legislation.
  • Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a hearing titled, “The Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices in Education to assist students impacted by gun violence and other adversities.”