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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Aumua Amata (Western Samoa)

March 13, 2020

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Friday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata released the following statement on the ongoing legislative response to the coronavirus, and the President’s national emergency declaration:

“The President’s declaration of a national emergency is important to free up federal resources. Since his speech to the nation this week on the coronavirus, the Trump administration and House leadership have also been negotiating a legislative relief package that is in the works. This would be above and beyond the $8 billion in emergency health spending already passed into law. This new bill is aimed at helping people during this major effort.

“Congress and the President are agreeing to measures including free coronavirus testing – which the President has already promised – an increase in the federal government’s Medicaid spending, expanded food assistance, and added unemployment insurance. Depending on negotiations, other possibilities include 14 days of paid sick leave, and up to three months of paid family and medical leave time.

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“I expect this bill to pass with most of these important provisions. This is another step forward, as I expect we’ll have other health and economic legislation in the coming weeks to help people through this time. I will keep you updated on how these efforts affect American Samoa.

“I strongly support and appreciate the President’s declaration of a national emergency. It will be another source of help for the states and territories as needed. As in the local emergency the president declared after Cyclone Gita, a declaration can allow additional nutrition, Medicaid and unemployment assistance for the American Samoa government and its people. We look forward to additional helpful measures in the weeks ahead.”