News Release

Measure would allow spending $1.4 million on national emergency

PALIKIR, Pohnpei. January 6, 2009 – On Day two of its Sixth Special Session, the 15th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia overrode several vetoes by President Emanuel ‘Manny’ Mori’, among which a measure to allow $1.4 million for him to address the national emergency.

Congressional Act 15-75 had appropriated $1.4 million originally towards funding public programs and projects in the four states and was vetoed by the President in light of more pressing matters, specifically the declared state of emergency in the four states.

During its deliberations this morning, Congress adopted Ways and Means Report 15-172 which reasoned that in light of the nation’s limited resources the best approach by Congress for the state of emergency would be to override the President’s veto. It is with the understanding, however, that "the President under the state of emergency is free to deal with the current emergency in any way he sees fit with the funds made available by this bill."

The report continued that "the amount appropriated by this bill of $1.4 million represents the sense of Congress as to the maximum that the President should spend under the declaration of emergency at this time." It was however noted that the ‘sense’ of Congress was in no way legally binding, therefore any additional needs can be attended to when Congress meets for its Regular Session on January 26, 2008.

Congress’s override would therefore enable immediate funding in the amount of $1.4 for President Mori to address the declared state of emergency in the four states.

The other two measures that Congress overrode during this morning’s deliberations were: Congressional Act 15-72, a supplemental request of $271,537 to fund matters that included the FSM Public Safety Academy, Caroline Island Air and the T-3 program, among others. The President cited constitutional defect as basis for the veto, noting concerns of a non-differentiating lump sum appropriation.

Congress’s override clarified that while the legislation’s format may not be the usual separate line item appropriation, the appropriations were however specific to a defined purpose and as noted in the override, ‘nothing prevented the President from vetoing any of the separate appropriations."

Finally, Congressional Act 15-74, which had proposed to change the use of certain funds previously appropriated for the State of Yap was vetoed based on erroneous information provided to the Executive Branch. The matter was righted this morning with the override by Congress to re-transmit the measure in its original state to the Office of the President.

Following the three overrides and after completing the order of the day, Congress recessed to continue the next day.

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