Was a taxpayer-funded Maui vacation necessary?
While many Americans spent time this week considering the negative consequences that the downgraded US credit rating will have on their lives, the press staff of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee spent time enjoying Hawaii.
Senator Akaka’s committee press staff has come to Maui to attend an oversight field hearing entitled “Strengthening Self-Sufficiency: Overcoming Barriers to Economic Development in Native Communities” on August 17th. But many of the staffers arrived a full week prior to the scheduled hearing. And they did so on taxpayer dollars. [click to continue…]
Hawaii has aloha for COFA migrants, but not sufficient funding
When the United States federal government passed the Compact of Free Association (COFA) Act in 1985, it made a promise to provide specified protections, economic benefits and domestic programs to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau in exchange for certain military permissions in these “associated” states. Under the COFA, the federal government has the freedom to operate U.S. armed forces in the region and deny access to the associated states by other countries, and citizens of the associated states have the right to U.S. economic assistance and the ability to work and live in the U.S.
The relationship detailed in the COFA was intended as a mutually beneficial exchange between the U.S. federal government and the associated states of FSM, RMI, and Republic of Palau. However, over the years, domestic U.S. states have taken on the burden of making good on the promises the federal government made. [click to continue…]