CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA GAINS SUPPORT FROM REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TOESTABLISH VA CLINIC IN AMERICAN SAMOA

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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE June 29, 2001

CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA GAINS SUPPORT FROM REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TO ESTABLISH VA CLINIC IN AMERICAN SAMOA

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega is pleased to announce that the Republican Chairman and Ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ affairs are supporting his initiative to establish a veterans’ clinic in American Samoa.

"Congressman Christopher Smith, Chairman, and Congressman Lane Evans, Ranking Member, signed on to a letter I am sending to the U.S. Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs requesting an expedited review of our forthcoming application to construct and staff a veterans’ clinic in the Territory," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "This is an important development because it reaches across party lines and sends a clear message that there is bi-partisan support for this effort."

"As a senior Democrat in Congress, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Congressman Smith and Congressman Evans for some time now. Although many people are under the assumption that Congress is all about political parties, the fact of the matter is Congress is about relationships established over long periods of time," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "I’ve worked with Chris Smith for a number of years now on the House Committee on International Relations. We also work together on the East Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee where I serve as Ranking Member."

"Lane Evans and I worked together in authorizing legislation for the VA home loan program in American Samoa," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "I am thankful that as a result of our continued association both members are fully committed to supporting this initiative to address the needs of our local veterans."

"As we have noted in our joint letter to Secretary Principi, we believe that veterans living in American Samoa should be offered the same services and benefits offered to those residing in other parts of the United States. The establishment of a VA clinic in American Samoa must be a critical and urgent priority of the Veterans’ Administration," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"I am hopeful that as a result of our joint commitment we will be able to move this process forward and expedite the review of our application. My office continues to remain in constant communication with Dave Burge, Regional Director of the Veterans’ Administration in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Mr. Burge has assured me that he will be submitting an application in support of our request by the end of June," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"I have already contacted the national Veterans’ administration to make them aware of the forthcoming application. As part of my continued commitment to the people of this Territory, I will continue to do all I can to ensure that our application is treated fairly and equitably in the process. I will also continue to work with my friends in Congress to see that the needs of our Territory are met," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"The federal government continues to provide for nearly 75 percent of our needs and I am appreciative of the Veterans’ Administration’s willingness to provide additional dollars for the health and well-being of our veterans. I am also appreciative of our local Senate’s continued commitment and support of this initiative," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "I am hopeful that as a result of our joint efforts we will be able to make a difference for veterans living in American Samoa."

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