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Case, Womack Urge Immediate Congressional Approval Of Agreements Vital To Relationship Between The United States and Pacific Island Nations

The two House members are leading a bipartisan effort to finalize renewal of the Compacts of Free Association with Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Congressman Ed Case (D-HI-01) and U.S. Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR-03) are leading a bipartisan effort to urge U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson to endorse and facilitate approval by the U.S. Congress of their Compact of Free Association (COFA) Amendments Act of 2023 at the earliest opportunity.

The two, both of whose serve on the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, headed a letter (copy attached), co-signed by 46 other Democratic and Republican House members including many members of the Appropriations Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee on which Case also serves with jurisdiction over the Compacts, and the Pacific Islands Caucus which Case co-chairs, urging the Speaker to include the COFA amendments in the next available legislative vehicle.

“Congress must approve the recently renegotiated Compacts of Free Association as soon as possible,” said Case.

“The Compacts are central not only to our longstanding relationships with Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, but to our country’s standing in the broader Pacific.

“The delay in providing Congressional approval is being used to sow doubt as to whether we can be trusted to stand by our commitments to our Pacific partners. The necessary legislative measure is fully vetted and ready for final approval in the House and should be approved now.”

“The Compacts of Free Association got the bipartisan stamp of approval from the House Natural Resources Committee in November for a reason—these agreements are vital to our national security and our community in Northwest Arkansas,” said Womack.

“The next step is House passage, and there’s no time to waste. We must immediately approve this crucial legislation to instill confidence in our ability to uphold our commitments to critical security partners, longtime friends, and allies.”

The legislative vehicles immediately before the House and Senate in which Case and Womack and their colleagues are aiming to include their Compacts approval legislation are the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations measures. Congress returns to session next week with the goal of addressing those measures.

This letter builds on Case’s and Womack’s longstanding bipartisan work to support the citizens of the Freely Associated States of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau who reside in the United States, many in Hawai‘i and Arkansas, and to strengthen the partnerships between the U.S. and countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Attachment: letter to Speaker Johnson