Amata confirms her candidacy for reelection to Congress
Washington, D.C. — "I'm always humbled to serve as your representative to Washington, D.C., and I'm very thankful to each of you for the support and good advice over these years. I'm especially thankful to God for all the blessings that enable me to work for you in Congress. Proverbs 11:14 states, 'Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.'
"It has been a busy summer and much of 2023 has flown by, but there’s important work to wrap up in Washington to get yearly government funding in place. It's my prayer there won't be a shutdown but I know we'll weather it, if it happens. I believe in working together and solving problems.
“Government appropriations is always sort of a sausage-making process, not fun to look at, but we need the end result. There's no question that there’s a cost cutting mood in Washington based on the Covid and Ukraine spending in recent years. Those big increases weren’t in the budget plan, and many of my colleagues, chairmen and influential senators, want to tap the brakes.
“My focus is on fairness for American Samoa in any appropriations. Recent appropriations have been good to American Samoa, dating back years to the federal response to Storm Gita and the first time in 2017 that we got an increase for our operations. At the time, we hadn’t had an increase in decades, and no one could have expected we’d get six straight yearly increases! Then in 2019 legislation, all the island territories worked together for the biggest boost to our Medicaid match rate ever. American Samoa went from not being equal to the states at a 55 percent match all the way to a standard rate of 83 percent federal match. Last year, we improved it again so that is long term no longer year to year.
"It's hard to believe 2024 is almost here already. Some of my colleagues call the even numbered years the silly season—it’s not quite that bad! But I know what they mean. There’s posturing and some bills that are just for show and less gets done. Next year there will be more uncertainty than ever about the 119th Congress and the Presidency. That's why experience, seniority, and relationships in key positions across government will continue to help us navigate Washington, regardless of what the American people choose.
"That’s one reason I’ve decided early this time that I expect to run for reelection. Another reason is the increased emphasis on the Pacific region, and the Pacific Islands. I’ve been saying for years that the U.S. needed to show stronger commitment in the Pacific. Gradually, we’re seeing that happening. We’re working to establish the stability and friendship of all the Pacific Islands, strengthening alliances and being the alternative to China’s influence, because China is seeking long term footholds in these places that are swayed by the need for infrastructure assistance.
"Our position in the Pacific makes that part of my job, but my focus is always on American Samoa. I will stay focused in Congress, and at the appropriate time next year, my expectation is to humbly ask for your vote to continue to represent you and keep working for American Samoa."