Friday, February 7, 2014

Congressional Resolution 18-127 restricts amount and source of funds for the State of Emergency of January 22, 2014

FSMIS (February 7, 2014): The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, through Congressional Resolution No. 18-127, which was adopted on January 31, 2014, decided that funds not requiring congressional appropriation for the State of Emergency declared by President Manny Mori on January 22, and amended on January 31, must not exceed $250,000. Additionally, this amount could only come from already appropriated operation budget for the Executive Branch. In specific, the resolution states:

"BE IT RESOLVED that the Declaration of Emergency of January 22, 2014 is hereby amended by adding a new sentence at the end of the declaration to read as follows: "During the period of emergency, the President is authorized to decree for emergency relief purposes a maximum of $250,000 without congressional appropriation. The source of such decreed funds shall be funds previously appropriated for the operation of the Executive branch."

Part of the resolution also states that "under article X section 8(c) of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, Congress has the authority to convene to consider revocation, amendment and extension of the declaration of emergency".

However, around the same time that the resolution was adopted, Congress also inserted among other items an amount of $2 million into the supplemental budget for the National Government that is currently under review by the President. This funding has not become law and therefore can not be accessed.

Hence, until the supplemental budget becomes law, and assuming the $2 million will be part of that law, the only feasible funding source the President can tap into for emergency relief purposes at this point is the operation budget for the Executive branch. When and if this should happen, it must not exceed $250,000.

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