PALIKIR, POHNPEI. June 4, 2014 - In its continuing efforts to assist the states who are currently undergoing financial shortfalls, Congress during its Fourth Regular Session again passed measures for various public projects and social programs to support ongoing endeavors in the four states to meet the economic and social needs of the people.
Acts for Public Projects and Social Programs in the States
A majority of the measures involved changes in the use of funds previously appropriated and those measures included the following:
CA 18-64 changed the use of certain funds previously appropriated for social programs in the State of Yap to instead enable the participation of the Health Department in an Asia Pacific Nurse Leadership Conference.
CA 18-65 changed the use of funds previously appropriated for public projects and social programs: first in the State of Chuuk, which re-directed assistance to the various Youth and Sports activities; subsidized various non-government programs along with various programs under the Departments of Health and of Education which requested assistance from Congress. Second, in the State of Kosrae, the measure subsidized the state’s obligations towards the Micronesian Shipping Commission.
CA 18-67 and CA 18-68 changed the allottee of funds previously appropriated for certain public projects and social programs in Election District One of the State of Pohnpei to the Chief Magistrate of the Sokehs Municipal Government.
CA 18-69 changed the use of certain funds previously appropriated for social programs in the State of Yap, specifically for the Yap Women Associations supplement/matching.
CA 18-71 changed the use of certain funds previously appropriated for public projects and social programs in the State of Kosrae to be used instead for: the State General Elections; the Kosrae Port Authority; the Department of Health for the Asia Pacific Nursing Leadership Conference; the Department of Economic Affairs’ seedling program.
CA 18-72 changed the use of certain funds previously appropriated for social programs in the State of Kosrae to be used instead to assist with transportation needs of the Small Business Center.
CA 18-76 appropriated $5.1 million from the General Fund of the FSM to fund public projects and social programs in the States of Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk. Apportioned per population the funding breakdown is as follows:
The State of Yap received $750,000 which it directed towards various public projects and social programs, among which the major bulk of the funding was directed to the states’ transportation boat along with POL for the existing field trip services; towards the states medical referral revolving fund; the various youth and sports summer programs; and the marine management programs and improvement projects, among others;
The State of Kosrae received $750,000 a majority of which was directed towards the various social programs under the state’s Department of Health and the Department of Education; and the state’s various needs for grants, subsidies and matching funds, among many others.
The amount of $1,450,000 was allocated to the State of Pohnpei, with $400,000 to Pohnpei At-large and $350,000 to the three FSM Election Districts in the state. Of the amount apportioned to Pohnpei At-Large, $260,000 was earmarked for the hosting cost of the Micro Games in July 2014 with the remaining balance to be expended upon allocation breakdown. The remaining election districts allocated their funding in accordance to their breakdowns.
The amount of $2,150,000 was allocated to the State of Chuuk with $400,000 to Chuuk At-Large and $350,000 to the five FSM Election Districts in the state. Allocation of the funding was in accordance to the breakdown of social programs and public projects in each election district.
All the Congressional Acts were transmitted to the President for his signature otherwise the measures automatically become law without his signature r 30 days after Congress’ transmittal date.
In addition to the Congressional Acts, various Resolutions were also adopted, most of which were grants to assist the various programs and services under the National Department of Health and Social Affairs. The non-grant related Resolutions included:
Congressional Resolution (CR) 18-134 had invited the President to share with Congress and especially citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia his Administration’s accomplishments and efforts of the past year
Through CR 18-159, Congress had, on behalf of the Government and the people of the FSM, had expressed sincere gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Leo B. Tudela for his outstanding contributions to the FSM Postal Services.
CR 18-163 had set the available budget ceiling of $72,610,379 of which 69,098,221 would be from domestic revenues and the remaining 3,512,158 would be the amount available under the amended Compact funds. This is based on the amount communicated to the Congress from the Department of Finance and Administration.
CR 18-164 conveyed the sadness and condolences of the Congress on the passing of Mr. Joanis Kim, a long-time Congress employee at the Chuuk Congressional Delegation Office.
CR 18-172 called for the extension of the Fourth Regular Session of the 18th Congress from ending on May 30 to instead adjourn on June 4, 2014.
CR 18-175 authorized the President to submit the national government’s compact sector budget to the United States Government in accordance with recent amendments to certain sections in Title 55 of the Code of the FSM. The amendments reflected the national government’s recent transfer of all sector funds to the state governments leaving the national government’s share of compact funds at zero 0%. Those amendments excluded the Supplemental Education Grants and the funding for College of Micronesia-FSM. Congress’ resolution encouraged the President’s submission of the US compact related funds to reflect the recent changes.
The remaining resolutions are for the various programs under the Department of Health and Human Services that have supplemented the national government’s continuing endeavor to meet the health and socio-economic needs of the people, and they included:
CR 18-137 which approved a United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) grant of $40,000 to fund Emergency Medical Services Children’s Program;
CR 18-152 which approved a USDHHS grant of $44,930 to fund the Preventative Health Services in the FSM;
CR 18-153 which approved a USDHHS grant of $91,045 to fund the Improving Data Capacity in the FSM Program;
CR 18-155 which approved a USDHHS grant of $505,342 to fund the Maternal and Child Health Services Program in the FSM;
CR 18-165 which approved a grant from the Government of Australia for $17,346 to fund the Generic Voter Registration System Upgrade for the Office of National Election Director;
CR 18-166 which approved a USDHHS grant of $394,192 to fund the Tobacco Control and Diabetes Prevention programs in the FSM;
CR 18-167 which approved a USDHHS grant of $9,306 to fund the HIV Care Grant in the FSM; and
Finally CR 18-168 approved financial assistance of $416,400 for 2014 from the World Health Organization to fund the FSM Country Budget 2014-2015 Joint Work Plan.
Following the passage and adoption of measures before the Body, the 18th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia adjourned its Fourth Regular Session on May 31, 2014.
In accordance with its Rules of Procedures, the next Regular Session of the Congress is scheduled for September 12th. Nevertheless, the President or the Congress itself has the Constitutional right to call for a Special Session anytime.