Fed funding to begin plan for a new American Samoa hospital takes a step forward
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata highlighted House passage of a major appropriations bill Thursday that funds numerous departments of the U.S. government for the next fiscal year, including the Interior Department. Within this legislation (H.R. 4502) is funding Amata requested for ASG Operations. This $2.5 million increase is the largest ever for the ASG Operations fund, however, Congress designated these funds specifically for planning efforts toward a new hospital.
The bill must either pass the Senate or be reconciled to legislation produced there. Under the House-passed bill, the increase would bring total grants for ASG Operations to a record $27,120,000, and upon becoming law, would be a fifth straight yearly increase at Amata’s request, including previous requests resulting in $250,000, $718,000, $400,000, and $500,000.
The House directs that no less than $2.5 million go “for the study, planning, site selection, design, environmental, and engineering services for the new Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa.”
ASG’s work on hospital planning would be in conjunction with the Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs and US Army Corps of Engineers, and necessitate compliance with all U.S. regulatory agencies for future funding allotments.
“This legislation recognizes American Samoa’s important health care need, and starts the planning and engineering work,” said Amata. “It’s an important step forward, as planning and engineering will provide fundamental aspects for the hospital we envision, and the necessary information for future funding requests.”
“Thank you to Governor Lemanu, Lt. Governor Talauega, and other ASG officials who will exercise leadership in this major effort as it grows, and we will persist in seeking funding,” Amata continued.
In addition to the Interior Department, the bill funds the next fiscal year for the Labor Department, Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs and military construction, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, among others. A number of these departments have a role in American Samoa, such as grant programs.