Friday, October 3, 2014

FSM Congress(men) heading home

FSMIS (October 3, 2014): The Fifth Regular Session of the Eighteenth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia adjourns sine die today in Palikr, Pohnpei with only nine of fourteen Members in attendance. 

There were no major actions taken, in terms of bill passage or adoption of resolution. However, Members used the time to express their gratitude for the in-house support from other Members as well as their staff throughout the duration of the 20-day session. 

During discussion of miscellaneous matters, Senator Wesley Simina registered his concern that Congress chose not to override the veto on the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) Act this session. He pointed out that the President vetoed the Act on the basis that there were no committee report and that no analysis had been done on the COLA Act prior to its passage. Senator Simina pointed out an analysis was done and that his committee did some work on the matter. He said, in not overriding the veto, Congress in essence concurred with the Presidents reasons. He said the President has used the same reasons in disapproving public project appropriations. He felt that Congress' latest act in support of the President's COLA Act veto basically gave credibility to the President's previous veto messages, including vetoes on public project bills. 

Senator Peter M. Christian expressed his disappointment that the President chose to be absent for the entire duration of this session. He quoted Voltaire in saying "with great power comes great responsibility", then went on to point out that the new fiscal year (FY15) is starting out with so much conflict already. (There were no elaboration on what these conflicts are.)

Senator Yosiwo P. George from the State of Kosrae registered what he said was "the feeling of the Leadership of Kosrea", expressing disagreement that Kosrae State is not included in the current project package to connect fiber optic cable to the other States. 

(Note: The Executive Branch has explained that the project funding, which is expected to be sourced by the World Bank, will not allow for all the four States to be connected at the same time in a viable way. However, O3b satellite technology is being procured for Kosrae's immediate use to markedly improve the communication sector. The President did communicate to Congress that he has not deviated from his aim to bring fiber optic connectivity to all the States.)

Senator Joseph J. Urusemal underscored his wish that sessions are concluded with more or less a "full house" in terms of Members attendance. With the understanding that some situations may be unavoidable, he asked that sessions are contemplated with important meetings and other matters in mind to try as much to give Members the ability to devout time to the sessions. 

Before the closing prayer, a motion to insert a committee report in the session's journal was passed but not without question by others as the report has not been adopted by the body. The report has to do with a meeting Congress held with the Vice President and relevant departments regarding the implementation of the Unified Revenue Authority. 

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