Rep Charles Djou: STATEMENT ON GAO AUDIT OF COFA
Washington, DC — Congressman Charles K. Djou (HI-01) issued the following statement regarding the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) decision to audit the federal funding of the Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands:
“For too long, the taxpayers of Hawaii have had to bear a disproportionate burden in providing social services for Micronesian citizens who travel to the United States visa-free thanks to the Compact of Free Association. It is estimated that while Micronesian citizens make up less than 1% of Hawaii’s population, they consume over 20% of our social services. This cost is simply too high and unfair when Hawaii, like any other state, is making tough choices to survive these difficult times.
“I welcome the GAO’s decision to audit the federal funds that go to the COFA. I have been vocally calling for reforming this treaty throughout my campaign and time in Congress – this is a good first step.
“The COFA is an important part of our nation’s foreign policy, but it is clear that it needs to be revised in light of the particular impact it has on our island state.”
Congressman Djou has been a consistent advocate for reforming the Compact, even meeting with the Ambassador from the Federated States of Micronesia. The Congressman and Ambassador discussed several issues of mutual importance. In particular, Congressman Djou expressed his concern regarding the impact of Micronesian emigration on the City and County of Honolulu's and the State of Hawaii's social service programs. The Congressman and the Ambassador agreed that the status quo is not working.
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