American Samoa rep says US territories need a louder voice in Congress
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
U.S. territories need a louder voice in the U.S. Congress, Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata Coleman Radewagen said, noting Washington’s “heightened focus” on the region.
Territorial delegates to the U.S. House of Representatives do not have the power to vote on proposed legislation in the full House. Nevertheless, they have floor privileges and are able to participate in certain other House functions. Non-voting members may vote in a House committee of which they are a member and introduce legislation.
There are currently six non-voting members: a delegate representing the District of Columbia, a resident commissioner representing Puerto Rico, as well as one delegate for each of the other four permanently inhabited U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Radewagen welcomed Guam Delegate James Moylan who has been named a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“We need Pacific voices and perspectives on this key committee, which oversees our great military," Radewagen said.
She noted that important issues affecting Guam, Northern Marianas and American Samoa often have similarities, and the three members of Congress have a broad range of complementary applicable committee assignments, as well as working together on the Natural Resources Committee where they each serve.
"I look forward to working with Congressman Moylan from my seats on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Natural Resources to continue efforts to ensure the people of the Pacific are consulted and considered at the center of our Indo-Pacific strategy," Radewagen said.
Radewagen will continue serving on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for the 118th Congress.
After expressing interest in three committees to House leadership, they granted a special request for a waiver allowing her to serve on all three of her top choice committees for the next two years.
The committee has oversight of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and all policies concerning veterans.
Radewagen will also serve on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a new role this term, and continue on the Committee on Natural Resources.
This week, committees are busy with organizational efforts and numerous meetings, so subcommittee assignment announcements for the three committees are yet to come.
The Veterans Affairs Committee is led by Chairman Mike Bost of Illinois, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I was delighted to get a call on Tuesday evening confirming leadership’s approval of my request for a third committee, so I can serve our veterans in the most direct way possible,” Radewagen said. “American Samoa is proud of our many veterans, military families and future veterans currently serving, and I’m humbled to work on veterans’ care and services, and VA oversight.”