FSM Congress News, May 15, 2003
PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): May 15, 2003 - Congress discussed and adopted a report by the Special Committee to Wait on the President during its session this morning. Aside from the proposed FY 2004 budget, the amended compact and the financial situation of the government, other issues were considered as equally urgent and important. These included funding for the special elections in the States of Chuuk and Yap, funding for the inauguration and FSM athletes to the South Pacific Games. The report stated that the President considers these issues as his priority and asked Congress to do likewise.
The Standing Committees have been organized and today started to announce their meetings. The Committee on Resources and Development (R & D) has scheduled three sets of public and oversight hearings. Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. it will meet with the FSM Banking Board. On the 19th of May it will meet with Department of Economic Affairs and on the 21st of May the committee will meet with the National Oceanic Resources Management Agency (NORMA). These meetings will take place at the Central Facilities Conference Room. The Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations (J & GO) will meet in its committee room today at 1:00 p.m., while the External Affairs Committee will meet with the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Committee on Health, Education and Social Affairs (HESA) will begin with its hearings on Monday.
Right after the morning session, Congress met with officials of the Department of Finance and Administrations and discussed the procedure to be used in dealing with the budget under the amended compact.
The department officials stressed that the procedure basically has four transmittal forms. First the national government and the state governments submit their "annual performance-based budget" to the FSM President, after they have been reviewed, then the president will transmit these budgets in only one package (consolidated) to the United States Government or to a committee, Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO), created under the compact to review proposals under the compact. The JEMCO will then send to the FSM President grant award notices for programs and projects to be funded under the compact based on its review of the consolidated budget submission. After that the FSM President would transmit to the Congress and the four state governors JEMCO's grants award notification. The Congress and state legislatures would then convene for budget sessions, according to reports from the department.
Members of Congress and the department officials agreed that this procedure and other issues would be discussed in details during the meeting with the President scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at the Central Facilities Conference Room.
Congress stood in recess at 10:35 this morning and will reconvene tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
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