Thursday, September 12, 2013

18th FSM Congress second regular session, FY budget matters and JEMCO issues

Session of Congress at a temporary location at the Central Facility Building on September 12, 2013 as the Chamber undergoes necessary repair.

FSMIS (September 12, 2013): The second regular session of the 18th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) held its opening session earlier today at the Central Facility, Palikir, Pohnpei.

FSM President Manny Mori and Vice President Alik L. Alik made themselves available, observing the first day of session.

Members of the President’s cabinet, the Diplomatic Corps, other State and National Government staff, some visitors from Japanese businesses brought in under the Micronesia Registration Advisors, Inc., as well as a number of FSM citizens took the time to witness this session’s opening proceeding.
At this session, Congress will primarily focus on remaining deliberations in order to make available the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the FSM National Government in time for the start of the new fiscal year on October 1st.

Given the Joint Economic Management Committee’s (JEMCO) decision to grant funding to only $2.4 million out of the FSM’s request of approximately $8.1 million, the Congress and the Executive Branch will find ways to mitigate the shortfall of approximately $5.7 million.

Additionally, there has been a robust list of outstanding measures which require Congressional action, including some thirty items reflected on the “order of business” for the day. Among these items are a bill to establish a FSM Set Aside Fund, a bill requesting to lower the threshold vote required in adopting constitutional changes, and a bill to reform the telecommunication industry in the FSM.

There are also a number of grant awards that cannot be used without their acceptance by Congress. These include notices for an amount of $649,948.91 from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community; an amount of $68,872 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; an amount of $40,000 from the US Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services Administration; and an amount of $13,000 from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), among others.

During miscellaneous discussions, Floor Leader Florencio Harper expressed his disappointment at a violent incident involving the near fatal beating of young Chuukese man in Nahnponmal, Pohnpei recently exposed by the Kaselehlie Press. He asked his colleagues to take a look into the matter and help in assuring safety and harmony throughout their jurisdictions.

Before session went into recess, Speaker Doshsis Halbert appointed members of the Committee to Wait on the President, to be chaired by Vice Speaker Paliknoa K. Welly. Other Members are Floor Leader Harper, Senator Joseph J. Urusemal and the Speaker himself.   

Speaker Halbert had informed the President that the opening and other meetings during the session will be held at the Central Facility building as the Congress Chamber currently undergoes repair works. 
Congress went into recess around 11:30 a.m. and will resume at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

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