It's been pending since 2010, but so far, there's no money to pay for it
It's been seven long years since Palau and the U.S. government signed off on the Palau Compact agreement, but despite its inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act just signed off on by President Trump, it's still not funded.
That's a pretty big deal, since the agreement called for $229 million through 2024. Trump has asked for $124 million of that amount in his fiscal year 2018 budget.
According to a news release from the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior, DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke was cheerleading for the president's action.
“The U.S. Insular Areas are on the front lines of North Korean aggression and are an important part of the strategic defense for our nation,” said Secretary Zinke. “Authorizing full funding for the agreement is an important element of the Pacific national security strategy to maintain stability in the Western Pacific Region and we look forward to continuing our work with Congress to get this job done. President Trump’s strong support for the agreement, the Department's budget request, and Congress' support for it all point to the strategic importance of our U.S. Territories and the Freely Associated States. I have served with a number of warriors from the islands and I look forward to visiting the people of Palau in my role as Secretary.”
“Finalization of this agreement with Palau is long overdue,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech. “Interior, State and Defense have collaborated extensively in support of the Palau Compact Agreement and we look forward to final action from Congress to provide the appropriations necessary to finalize this important U.S. Government commitment to Palau.”
At the time of the Compact agreement signing in 2010, full funding for the pact was not authorized. Beginning, subsequent Interior and discretionary appropriations acts have extended annual economic assistance to Palau of approximately $13.1 million a year for a total of $105.2 million in discretionary funds thus far. These funds are provided to assist the Government of Palau in its efforts to advance the well-being of its people and in recognition of the special relationship that exists between the United States and Palau.