The Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, Senator Magalei Logovii, has recommended to the Senate president that the House and Senate hold separate hearings for the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget.
Magalei told KHJ News that a decision wont be made until the Senate President has had a chance to meet with House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale who returns from an off island trip tonight.
The committee chairman says there’s not enough space in the Fono fale where the Senate is currently holding sessions for joint budget hearings.
He said while there may be enough space to seat senators and House Representatives he doesn’t think there ls room to fit in the witnesses and staff who need to be present for the review of departments’ budgets.
Magalei says he has discussed the matter with Senate President Gaoteote Palaie but a decision wont be made until the president has discussed it with House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale.
Separate budget hearings would most likely be welcomed by House Representatives who have often complained about being sidelined during the annual budget reviews, out of respect for their colleagues in the Senate.
A member of the House of Representatives told KHJ News over the weekend however that there were discussions concerning the use of the Lee Auditorium for joint budget hearings.