American Samoa Delegate Amata fights for more funding
As an American territory, American Samoa is reliant on the federal budget to operate. In the past four years, Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R) has been able to steadily increase the amount of money that American Samoa receives. On Friday, July 11, Amata was able to successfully take the first step to funding a major appropriation bill for the territory, as the Interior Appropriations for American Samoa was included by House bill writers on the latest version of the federal budget for fiscal year 2021.
Delegate Amata would like a substantially larger amount of money than what was initially offered by the government. She would like $3.1 million more than what the government has initially offered. It is also $500,000 more than the sum agreed upon last year. The Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, led by Chairwoman Betty McCollum (D) and Ranking Member David Joyce (R), has included $24,620,000 for fiscal year 2021. This is a substantial increase for the territory. Over the past four years, Congresswoman Amata has secured a total direct increase of slightly less than $2 million. This increase is especially significant considering that each time, American Samoa has received millions more than what the Trump Administration proposed.
This proposal is only the beginning of a long legislative process ahead. Amata will remain in communication with the leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure that American Samoa receives the money that it deserves.
Despite the hurdles that the bill has yet to cross, prospects look promising as the full House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, led by Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R), has marked up and approved the bill. Amata has declared that “this is good news for our Territory’s yearly funding.”