Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM President Falcam Vetoes 11 Congressional Acts

POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): January 7, 2002 - FSM President Leo A. Falcam vetoed eleven (11) of eighteen (18) Congressional Acts transmitted to his office for approval after the Second Regular Session of the Twelfth FSM Congress held October 9-30, 2001. The other 7 Acts have been signed into law.

The seven Congressional Acts that were signed into laws included the following: (1) Public Law No. 12-13, which declares a temporary moratorium on the immigration of certain alien workers to be in effect for one year; (2) Public Law No. 12-14, which amends section 405 of Title 24 of the FSM Code to remove the requirement for joint approval of fishing agreements by the committees on Ways and Means (W&M) and Resource and Development (R&D) between sessions of Congress; (3) Public Law No. 12-15, which amend Public Law No. 8-75 section 2, to change the use of certain funds appropriated for Yap State; (4) Public Law No. 12-16, amending Title 55 of the FSM Code, to establish a "S" Account within the FSM Trust Fund which will be used to save compact "bump up" funds in FY 2002 & 2003 to be used in FY 2004 and thereafter to stabilize the transition to the renegotiated terms of the Compact of Free Association. (5) Public Law No. 12-17, which authorize the FSM to borrow approximately $8,019,000 from the Asian Development Bank and re-lend approximately $6,504,169 to the states for the purpose of funding basic social services projects; (6) Public Law No. 12-18, which amends Title 54 of the FSM Code, section 112, to exempt from gross revenue tax, the sale of fish by foreign or domestic fishing vessels to processing facilities in the FSM and the sale of bait fish to foreign or domestic fishing vessels, and to make numerous technical corrections, and (7) Public Law No. 12-19, which authorizes the FSM to borrow approximately $13,017,158 from the Asian Development Bank and re-lend approximately $9,238,520 to the States for the Purpose of funding private sector development programs and projects.

The President vetoed eleven (11) of the Congressional Acts transmitted to his office after the Second Regular Session. This represents an unprecedented disapproval of the decisions of Congress by the President.

Significantly, included in the Acts vetoed was Congressional Act No. 12-13 which was an override of one line-item vetoed by the President in the Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Act, which was signed into law on August 19, 2001. The Second Regular Session was Congress' first opportunity to consider the President's line-item veto of three appropriations included in the budget. Two of the items vetoed were not overridden, but the appropriation of $45,000.00 for the operations of the Chuuk State Commission on Improvement Projects was overridden by vote of three of the State Delegations, as required by FSM Constitution.

In his veto message, the President raised concerns about the form of the Act that represents Congress' action in overriding the item veto. He states "However inadvertently, Congress has acted outside its narrow authority to override my veto. The result is a new act which is again subject to Executive Branch review, because it exceeds the narrow subject matter of my veto." Under the FSM Constitution, the President has no authority to veto the override of a veto. It is therefore, the position of Congress that the veto-override is law, and became effective the date of the vote to override. This issue remains unresolved between the two branches.

Also vetoed by the President was Congressional Act No. 12-20 which sought to amend the Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Act to address the other two item-veto concerns of the President, to provide supplemental funding to the Constitutional Convention, to change the allottee of the Constitutional Convention funding, and to make other re-designation of funding sources within the budget to eliminate the slight over-appropriation that exist in the General Fund. The President's reasons for vetoing this Act were that the Act was dependent upon Congressional Act No. 12-13 (the override) which was vetoed, and therefore this Act must also be vetoed.

Congressional Act No. 12-18 sought to retroactively extend the lapse date for four Public Laws that lapsed on September 30, 2001, in order to preserve the availability of unexpended funds under Public Laws Nos. 10-120, 10-145, 11-36 and 11-54. The President vetoed this Act for two reasons. Firstly, he stated that the bill addressed more than one subject. Secondly, he stated that allowing the retroactive extension of the lapse date is "inconsistent with the Financial Management Act".

The other eight (8) Acts which were vetoed by the President were for reasons such as vagueness of projects defined, disapproval of the process of re-designating appropriated funds to "complete projects" in order to define new used for remaining funds, and in the case of seven of eight Acts, re-designating as allottee an entity which is a defacto, but not a legal, development authority under Chuuk State law.

The Twelfth Congress expects to meet in a Special Session sometime this quarter to address the vetoed Acts and other pending legislation.

Individuals desiring additional information regarding the Acts vetoed, or desiring a copy of the Presidential Communications stating the reasons for a given veto, may contact the Congress Library, Congress' Central office, or the President's Office for copies of the relevant documents.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356