WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan was selected Tuesday to serve as the Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee with specific responsibility for Insular Affairs. Insular issues were previously delegated to a subcommittee, but the new Democratic majority has decided policy regarding the Marianas and other insular areas will now be managed by the full committee with Sablan chairing.
In his new position, Vice Chair Sablan has already scheduled a hearing on a recent Trump administration decision ending humanitarian parole for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and other long-time Marianas residents. The hearing, planned for February 27, will also focus on the decision to take the Philippines off the list of countries that can send H visa workers to the United States. Continuation of parole for tourists is another issue on the agenda.
Rules of the Democratic Caucus prevent one person from chairing more than one committee; and Congressman Sablan is already the Chair of the Subcommittee on Early, Elementary, and Secondary Education. He can serve as a vice chair and a chair, however; and Sablan’s 10 years of seniority give him the opportunity to do both.
“I want to thank Chair Raúl Grijalva for recognizing that insular issues need to be given special prominence in the work of the Natural Resources Committee,” Sablan said, “and for giving me the responsibility to manage what Congress does for our island areas. I intend to take full advantage of the ability I will now have to make sure our islands are more than just a second thought in national policy.”
Sablan will also serve on the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. WOW has jurisdiction over Sablan’s recently introduced Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2019.