With the beginning of the 118th Congress, the territorial delegates and resident commissioner will serve on various committees and subcommittees. The three Republicans will be part of the majority of the committees, while the two Democrats will be part of the minority of the committees—even though the territorial delegates can only vote within the committee and not on final legislation. Of the five delegates, four will serve on the United States House Committee on Natural Resources and the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs, giving them a voice in shaping territorial policy.
Delegate Uifa’atali Amata Coleman Radewagen (R) of American Samoa will serve on the Foreign Affairs committee and will be part of the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific as well as the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. Radewagen noted, “After participating in the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders in Honolulu and observing the US-Pacific Islands summit in Washington last year, it became clear to me that the threat China poses to the stability of our region requires the US to become much more active in the region and that a Samoan perspective in congressional oversight and lawmaking would be the best way to protect our interests.”
Radewagen will also serve on the Committee on Natural Resources, assigned to the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs, along with the Subcommittee on Waters, Wildlife, and Fisheries. Returning as Vice Chair on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Radewagen will serve on the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Radewagen said in a press release, “In my years on the Committee, we’ve increased support for VA services and retaining skilled personnel. We’ve started important reforms to the VA and modernization efforts that must be seen through and have more to do on mental care and preventing suicides.”
Delegate James Moylan (R) of Guam, who was elected last year, will serve on the Committee on Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources. Moylan highlighted: “We are excited about the selection, as being a member of these committees would provide us additional leverage when it comes to advocating issues important for Guam. [The Armed Services Committee] not only plays a critical role in creating economic activity for our island but is also vital for the defense of Guam and our nation. With [the Natural Resources Committee], we will be focusing on issues that support the territories, inclusive of our fisheries, irrigation, and land.”
On Armed Services, Moylan was assigned to the Subcommittee on Readiness and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. On Natural Resources, Moylan will serve on the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs and the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. Noting that the delegate has the power to vote in committee, Moylan said that “while the Guam delegate may not have a final vote on the floor, we do in committee, and this is exactly where we can establish some dialogue and leverage on our issues.”
Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D) of the Northern Mariana Islands will also serve on the Committee on Natural Resources and was assigned to the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs, along with the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. On the Education and Workforce Committee, Sablan will serve on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. Sablan said, “I plan to focus on bringing the educational and workforce development needs of the Marianas to the forefront, including quality education and investing in the success of our students at every level, supporting our educators, and empowering and providing greater opportunities for our workforce.”
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R) of Puerto Rico will continue serving on the Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. Both have jurisdiction over key federal agencies relevant to Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts, supporting critical infrastructure and other energy and environmental issues. The resident commissioner said, “in this role, I’ll continue advocating for policies to foster economic growth and improve energy security, affordability, and reliability across the US territories and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. I’m also committed to conducting rigorous oversight over inequities in federal laws; the responsible use of federal funds, including those for disaster recovery; and the Executive Branch’s negotiations to extend and implement the Compacts of Free Association.”
González-Colón will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs and was also assigned to the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries. In the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, the resident commissioner will serve on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation; Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management; and the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Development. These subcommittees oversee agencies that affect Puerto Rico, including the Coast Guard, which secures the US-Caribbean border and assists with disaster recovery and emergency response efforts, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which handles a large portion of Puerto Rico’s federal funding for disaster recovery.
Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D) of the US Virgin Islands will serve on the Committee on Agriculture but gained recognition for her other assignments. Plaskett was assigned to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and will serve as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Intelligence Enterprise. The delegate will also serve on the Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture. Plaskett said, “the Intelligence Committee is charged with oversight of the Intelligence Community of the US Government as well as the Military Intelligence Program. The committee serves a vital function for our nation as the eyes and ears of the Congress and in monitoring and overseeing the activities of the Intelligence Community to properly maintain our national security.” After serving as a part of the House impeachment team during the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump, Plaskett will be the Ranking Member on the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Plaskett noted in a press release, “I am thankful for this opportunity to serve our country and protect the integrity and soundness of our democracy […] The Republican’s attempt to derail the federal government’s obligation to investigate and conduct due process on actions, organizations, and individuals that threaten our republic and create an anti-democratic environment will be met with strong resistance by myself and my Democratic colleagues on the subcommittee.”