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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 15, 2022
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Insular Territories Lobby Obama for Funding

Delegate Donna M. Christensen and the delegates representing Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa recently wrote President Barack Obama urgently requesting the Fiscal Year 2015 he is preparing to submit to Congress include “no less than $88.9 million” in “assistance to territories” funding. [Letter to Obama]

That amount would put it on the same level as in FY13, but more than the $85.98 million in 2014.

The money funds annual grants through the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs for technical assistance and other purposes to increase insular area self-sufficiency, according to the letter.

Delegate Gregorio Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands took the lead on the letter, as ranking member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, said Christensen, discussing the Feb.10 letter in a recent phone call. But all the delegates strongly agree, she said.

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"That funding is so important to the territories because it enables us to do a lot we could not do otherwise," Christensen said. "It is generally technical assistance money," she said.

It has provided funding for the V.I. cancer registry, helped pay for the digitizing of historical records, and feasibility studies for the Salt River education center under development, she said.

Christensen said it was difficult to say how much of the total will come to this territory, partly because it is based on individual grants for specific purposes. "it all depends on what we ask for. If we don’t ask for the funding and others do, we won’t get it."

Most of the specific grant requests under this program must come from either the governor or from the University of the Virgin Islands.

Since the budget has not been submitted yet and will have to go through both the Democratic Party-controlled Senate and the Republican Party-controlled House of Representatives, there is a long way before a final budget is enacted. But by writing Obama now, at the beginning of the process, the insular territories are hoping to get their feet in the door and try to set the terms of the discussion from the start, to increase the chances the final result will be one the territory’s like, Christensen said.

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Delegate Donna M. Christensen and the delegates representing Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa recently wrote President Barack Obama urgently requesting the Fiscal Year 2015 he is preparing to submit to Congress include “no less than $88.9 million” in “assistance to territories” funding. [Letter to Obama]

That amount would put it on the same level as in FY13, but more than the $85.98 million in 2014.

The money funds annual grants through the U.S. Interior Department's Office of Insular Affairs for technical assistance and other purposes to increase insular area self-sufficiency, according to the letter.

Delegate Gregorio Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands took the lead on the letter, as ranking member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, said Christensen, discussing the Feb.10 letter in a recent phone call. But all the delegates strongly agree, she said.

"That funding is so important to the territories because it enables us to do a lot we could not do otherwise," Christensen said. "It is generally technical assistance money," she said.

It has provided funding for the V.I. cancer registry, helped pay for the digitizing of historical records, and feasibility studies for the Salt River education center under development, she said.

Christensen said it was difficult to say how much of the total will come to this territory, partly because it is based on individual grants for specific purposes. "it all depends on what we ask for. If we don’t ask for the funding and others do, we won't get it."

Most of the specific grant requests under this program must come from either the governor or from the University of the Virgin Islands.

Since the budget has not been submitted yet and will have to go through both the Democratic Party-controlled Senate and the Republican Party-controlled House of Representatives, there is a long way before a final budget is enacted. But by writing Obama now, at the beginning of the process, the insular territories are hoping to get their feet in the door and try to set the terms of the discussion from the start, to increase the chances the final result will be one the territory's like, Christensen said.