Congress in final stages to pass 2011 National Budget
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): September 27, 2010 - The Sixteenth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia is wrapping up its consolidation of the National Government Budget for fiscal year 2011.
Congress convened on September 13 and has since then been in deliberations with the various departments, offices, agencies and entities of the national government to finalize their proposed budgets for the upcoming fiscal year which begins on October 1st 2010.
The Budget Bill as submitted earlier in May by President Emanuel 'Manny' Mori requested $53,044,445 to fund the operations of all branches of the national government, its agencies, various programs, grants, subsidies and contributions.
Accordingly, the various Congressional Standing Committees met with the departments and entities under their jurisdiction and have submitted most of their reports to Congress for adoption.
Congress received a revised budget of $53,864,208 to which the Committee of Ways and Means is now consolidating with the reports from the various committees against the latest national projected revenues of $ 45,540,560.
With the deadline for passage of the National Budget is September 30 2010, the Committee on Ways and Means has been working into the night and throughout the weekend to balance the budget.
While budget deliberations remain the priority of the session, Congress still has to review other pending congressional measures. Among those pending measures was a supplemental budget request to address several issues among which included outstanding payroll.
The 2010 supplemental budget requested $342,530 to address shortfalls at the Departments of Justice and Education to cover payroll for the remainder of FY2010. The shortfalls were highlighted during the relevant committees' joint public hearing where they heard what seemed to be a catalog of violations of the Financial Management Act.
Congress expressed disappointment with the seeming inability of the departments to properly budget funds as appropriated.
Speaker Isaac V. Figir requested the President's immediate attention on the matter and to inform the Congress of the government's action to ensure compensation for the employees and a plan to prevent future occurrences.
Congress adopted Congressional Resolution 16-129 to convey to the President its profound concerns over the violations of the Financial Management Act and the National Public Service System Act and requested removal of those responsible.
While the resolution has been transmitted to the President, the supplemental budget request meanwhile, is till being hotly debated in Congress and defeated twice on the floor. Members are divided on whether to pass the measure to finally compensate the noted national employees and condone the very violations concerned or abide by the FMA and penalize those non-policy making national employees.
The 2010 supplemental budget request has created an impasse in Congress.
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