Bulk of Case's Boosting Long-Term Engagement In the Pacific (BLUE Pacific) Act Passes U.S. House
Provisions included in the COMPETES Act, a major measure to strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness, domestic capacity and supply chains
Washington, DC, February 2, 2022
Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) joined a majority of his colleagues today in supporting U.S. House of Representatives passage of the “Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength” or COMPETES Act, groundbreaking legislation to ensure the country’s success in long-term global competition.
“This measure will greatly strengthen both our economic and national security, especially as we tackle the growing challenges posed by China throughout our Indo-Pacific,” said Case.
“I especially worked with colleagues to include in the COMPETES Act much of the Boosting Long-Term U.S. Engagement in the Pacific (BLUE Pacific) Act, a bill I introduced in 2019 to re-establish a long-term, comprehensive strategy for U.S engagement in the critical Pacific Islands region.”
The BLUE Pacific Act provisions in the COMPETES Act include:
· Expanded U.S. diplomatic and development presence in the Pacific Islands;
· Improved coordination of U.S. engagement, including security and development assistance, through a formal consultative process with regional partners, allies and multilateral institutions;
· Requiring U.S. agencies to devise and implement a strategy to invest in climate resilient development projects, including by using the U.S. voice and vote at international financial institutions, and authorize $50 million per year for the next five years for this purpose;
· Expanded coverage of the International Law Enforcement Academies program to the Pacific Islands;
· Development of a comprehensive strategy for U.S. security assistance to the Pacific Islands to enhance maritime security, address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, tackle transnational crimes like human and drug trafficking and more;
· Increased U.S. efforts to assist the Pacific Islands in addressing transnational crime through ratification and implementation of international legal instruments and enhanced action on illegal forestry and logging;
· Implementing an emergency preparedness initiative for the Pacific Islands through education and training programs, technical assistance and more, supported by an authorization of $40 million per year for the next five years; and
· Expanded Peace Corps presence in the Pacific Islands.
In addition, the full House also approved the following floor amendments to the COMPETES Act offered by Case to:
· Order a comprehensive study into offshore aquaculture including the environmental impact, and an assessment on the impact of international offshore aquaculture industries on the US seafood market.
· Direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of the Interior and in consultation with other relevant federal departments and agencies, to report on international indigenous engagement, to include Native American representation and participation in international organizations dedicated to indigenous communities.
· Establish a program for the professional development of young adult leaders and professionals in the Pacific Islands similar to the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.
Case also co-sponsored the following floor amendments adopted by the House for inclusion into the COMPETES Act to:
· Express a Sense of Congress that it is in the national interest for the United States to become a formal signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
· Add the text of the Critical Infrastructure Manufacturing Feasibility Act to the bill, which orders a study on the feasibility of manufacturing more goods in the United States, in particular, products that are key to our critical infrastructure.
· Create a Congressionally charted commission to make recommendations to Congress on how best to maintain and bolster U.S. supply chains.
The bill also includes several provisions from separate measures Case has cosponsored to protect our oceans and strengthen our partnerships abroad, including:
· Reauthorizing the Coral Reef Conservation Program, including a $58.5 million authorization for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of the Interior to conduct their corals programs for each Fiscal Year from 2022 through 2026;
· Prohibiting domestic sale of shark fins;
· Improving laws to control illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing on the high seas;
· Phasing out large-scale driftnet fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone;
· Establishing a grant program to promote the consumption of seafood products that are local or domestic, climate-friendly or from well-managed but less known species;
· Assessing the progress of studies into the effects of climate change on our island jurisdictions;
· Studying the environmental impacts associated with deep seabed mining;
· Studying the global carbon sequestration potential of protecting or restoring oceanic blue carbon;
· Establishing a fellowship program with Taiwan; and
· Creating an Ambassador at Large for Artic Affairs within the Department of State.
See Case testify on February 1, 2022, before the House Rules Committee on the COMPETES Act here
See a Fact Sheet on the COMPETES Act here