Marshalls Islands Journal: GAO to audit federal funding of Compact of Free Association
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has launched an audit of the adequacy of Compact “impact” funding for US states that have residents from Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. The GAO is in the “design phase” of preparing the audit plan. US Interior Department official Tom Bussanich, who was in Majuro last week for the Development Partners Meeting, said GAO officials had an “entrance conference” with him last month to start the audit process. The audit was requested earlier this year by US Congressmen from Arkansas, Hawaii and US territories in the Pacific who expressed concern about the impact that islanders from the three US-affiliated islands are having in some US states, particularly on health and education costs.
Radio New Zealand: US officials looking into funding for off island treatment of Micronesians
The US Government Accountability Office is launching an audit to check the adequacy of the funding for American states and territories to provide services for Micronesians.
About 40,000 Micronesians live in US and have visa-free access to the United States as part of the Compact of Free Association with the US government.
The Compact of Free Association provides US$30 million annually which is divided among Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
But leaders in Hawaii and the two U.S. territories say the 30 million reimburses them for only a fraction of the cost to provide services.
Congress representatives from the state of Arkansas, home to about 5,000 Marshall Islanders, say the state is spending millions of dollars to provide medical care and public education to islanders.
They have also raised concerns about the need to address ways to reduce the communicable diseases islanders bring to the United States.
Hawaii News Now: Abercrombie admits responsibility for costing Hawaii millions under Compact of Free Association (Nov 2)
Neil Abercrombie says "Yes". He was on the committee that helped put together the treaty with Micronesia. That's now costing Hawaii millions.
Abercrombie admits, "I wish we could have done something more to see to it that the funding came. It wasn't for a lack of. I ended up voting for the bill because it was the right thing to do - but the funding wasn't there. And I regret that ...very, very deeply and I think that the consequences of that are in front of us right now."