30 Oct 2003

Compact aid approved by House

9:15 am on 30 October 2003

The US House of Representatives has approved an aid package for two Pacific Island nations that would provide more than 3.5 billion US dollars in funding over 20 years.

The measure, which must still must be ratified by the Senate, would extend and amend the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Part of the agreement spells out a series of new requirements designed to protect workers from the islands who are recruited to work at low paying jobs in amusement parks and nursing homes in the US.

The measure also provides for an extension until 2066 of a US lease agreement for the use of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the site of the Ronald Reagan Missile Test Range.

Also included in the pact is 15 million dollars a year in so-called impact funding earmarked for Guam, Hawaii, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas, US locations that have been heavily affected by those migrating from Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.