President’s OIA Budget Reduces Funding for Territories

President Donald Trump today proposed a budget of $591.9 million for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) for Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Freely Associated States of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands through the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA).

The budget request for OIA includes $84.3 million in discretionary appropriations and $507.6 million in mandatory funding.

Additionally, the budget requests $123.9 million of discretionary Department of Defense appropriations to be transferred to the Department of the Interior to support enactment of the 2010 Compact Review Agreement with Palau.

The Palau Compact is an important element of the Pacific national security strategy.

Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula said, “While we continue to support all of our U.S. insular areas, we have long been striving to meet our commitments to the Republic of Palau.”

“President Trump’s strong support for the Palau Compact shows that he recognizes the strategic importance of our U.S. Territories and the Freely Associated States.”

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “The Territories and Freely Associated States are absolutely critical to the strategic readiness of the United States, and they are part of the fabric of who we are as fellow Americans.

“President Trump’s budget proposal makes it abundantly clear that these lands, often on the front lines of escalating tensions, are under our protection and serve vital importance.

“The President’s budget balances these priorities and commitments to the Insular Areas with his promise to make government work for the taxpayer again and support a balanced budget by 2027,” Secretary Zinke said.

The President’s budget allows Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs to carry out its core mission of empowering insular area communities by improving quality of life, creating economic opportunity, and promoting efficient and effective governance.

The funding allows OIA to continue providing grants for technical assistance, implementing sustainable energy plans and invasive species control.

Commenting on the president’s budget proposal, Congresswoman Aumua Amata said, “The President has made it clear, that national security and defense are his top priorities.

“The budget proposal released today by the administration reflects those priorities, which are important to all Americans.

“We in Congress will now do our part to review the President’s budget blueprint. It is Congress who ultimately allocates funding levels, and to that end I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to ensure that the American people’s priorities and needs are met, including those in American Samoa and the other territories.

“We must ensure that any potential cuts do not come on the backs of our most economically challenged and geographically isolated populations.”

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