FALEOMAVAEGA OPPOSES GOP MOVE TO END EWC FUNDS

News Release

American Samoa Congressman Eni Faleomavaega Washington, D.C. Feb. 19, 2011

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni announced Friday that he is opposing efforts by some Republicans to eliminate any and all funding for the East-West Center.

"H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution put forward by the Republicans, cuts East-West Center funding from the current $23 million to $10.7 million. But, Republican Congressman Royce, Canseco and McClintock proposed amendments which would eliminate all East-West Center funding," Faleomavaega said.

"While I agree that we need to cut the federal budget, I do not believe we should carelessly use a machete, a samurai sword or a sledgehammer to discard programs that are necessary to protecting U.S. interests in this region of the world. The East-West Center was established by Federal law of the U.S. Congress in 1960. President Eisenhower signed the Mutual Security Act of 1960 which authorized its creation only after the State Department conducted a study and reported back to Congress about the relevance of establishing the East-West Center."

"President John F. Kennedy also signed an Act which appropriated additional funding, and every President since, both Republican and Democrat, have done the same. Why? Because the East-West Center promotes a better understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia and the Pacific and this understanding is critical to U.S. economic, political, social, and especially our strategic and military interests.

"The Asia Pacific region is the world's most populous region where more than 4 billion people, or more than 60% of the world's current human population, live. Two of the three largest economies in the world are in the Asia Pacific region, and our own economic interests in this region are critical to our success."

"Since the EWC is not solely funded by the federal government but also receives the majority of its funding from private agencies, individuals, foundations and corporations, I agree that federal support can be scaled back, and this is what the Republican leadership has proposed by putting forward a base bill that cuts funding. But some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to go further than their own party by totally eliminating all federal funding to help in the operations of this institution, and I oppose their course of action."

"More than 50,000 people from the Asia Pacific region have participated in EWC programs including many who currently hold positions of leadership including heads of government, cabinet members, university and NGO presidents, corporate and media leaders.

The U.S. would do well to keep its seat at this table and for, this reason, I am hopeful my colleagues will oppose these amendments and instead support the base bill and the committee's mark concerning the East-West Center," Faleomavaega concluded.

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