AMERICAN SAMOA CANNERY BILL IN ‘JEOPARDY’

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By Samoa News Staff

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, March 6) - Aumua Amata Coleman issued a press release over the weekend saying that the fate of the 936 extension provision in American Samoa appears to be in jeopardy, indicating that the Senate Finance Committee is adamantly opposed to resurrecting 936 and is refusing to pass it.

[PIR editor’s note: According to a U.S. House of Representatives December press release, the Tax Reconciliation Act of 2005 was passed in the House and included an extension of the 936 tax credits for American Samoa.]

"What we are hearing in the halls of Congress is amazing. First, last week's hearing was non-eventful and went fairly quickly. Little was discussed about 936," Amata told Samoa News via email.

She explained that the behind the scenes maneuvering is what is interesting.

"First, the Senate Energy Committee staff is saying the 936 extension deal for American Samoa is dead. They're saying there may be a wage credit proposal as a fallback, but even that is not for sure, because people are saying the tuna canneries will be leaving soon anyway, and if they can't make it, American Samoa needs a post-cannery economic development strategy," according to Amata.

Amata revealed that there is talk that the House Ways and Means chair Bill Thomas and his staff are sending signals that they will not fight for the extension because Senate opposition is so strong.

According to Amata, word on the hill is that Thomas will not seek re-election and that he will make his retirement announcement this week.

Amata, who is rumored to be getting set to launch another run for the Delegate's seat, couldn't resist shooting a few barbs Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin's way.

"If true," Amata said in her release, "our Delegate appears to have backed the wrong idea with the wrong allies in Congress and really dropped the ball. That is why he is taking it out on Papalii David Cohen and others who all along have worked hard to help American Samoa."

Last week another rumored candidate, Pago Pago Representative Muavaefa'atasi Ae Ae Jr. fired a few volleys the Congressman's way at the Federal District Court hearings.

March 7, 2006

Samoa News: www.samoanews.com

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