Sablan wants prompt renewal of Palau Compact
Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan quizzed administration witnessestoday on a proposed 15-year renewal of the Palau Compact of Free Association with the United States. He called for a greater sense of urgency on approval of the overdue agreement and a sense of perspective with respect to the cost of the renewal.
“”We are nickel and dimeing Palau,” Sablan said of the reluctance to find acceptable funding to continue the Compact with Palau for another 15 years. The proposed agreement cuts funding from the first 15-year total by 62 percent.
Sablan compared the situation to a bank “that spends a fortune to bring in new customers. Then, once they capture the customer, they charge a $5 monthly fee and lose that customer.”
The hearing took placebefore the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. As Ranking Member of the Natural Resources subcommittee with responsibility for insular affairs, Sablan was invited to sit at the dais to question the witnesses from the State, Defense, and Interior departments, and from the Government Accountability Office.
Compact financial assistance for Palau was scheduled to be renewed beginning with fiscal year2011. But negotiations on the agreement was not finished in time. Further delay h. s resulted from the requirement to find offsetting savings in the federalbudget to pay for the cost of the Palau agreement.
(Gregorio 'Kilili' Sablan)