May 26, 2005

By Tom Burkindine
The Kaselehlie Press

PALIKIR, Pohnpei- After the appointment of Standing Committee Chairmen by Speaker Peter Christian at the convening of the Fourteen FSM Congress on May 11, congress recessed until Tuesday, May 17, to allow its standing committees to organize and begin work on the budget proposal for fiscal year 2006 and other urgent matters including ongoing review of the SDP in preparation for submission to the United States. The SDP document is required under the Compact and as a basis for Compact assistance.

In addition to Christian's appointment, Senator Claude H. Phillip resumes his seat as Vice Speaker while the newly elected Senator Simiram Sipenuk has taken on the role of Floor Leader for the 14th FSM Congress.

After reconvening, Congress held a series of organizational meetings and members finalized the Committee membership. Members of the Committee on Ways & Means are Isaac V. Figir (Chairman), Roosevelt D. Kansou (Vice-Chairman), Peter M. Christian, Dohsis Halbert, Manny Mori, Claude H. Phillip, Simiram Sipenuk.

Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations members are Dohsis Halbert (Chairman), Roosevelt D. Kansou (Vice-Chairman), Alik L. Alik, Tiwiter Aritos, Peter M. Christian, Moses A. Nelson, Ramon Peyal.

Members of the Committee on Resources and Development are Manny Mori (Chairman), Ramon Peyal (Vice-Chairman), Alik L. Alik, Peter M. Christian, Dion G. Neth, Simiram Sipenuk, Peter Sitan.

Committee on Health, Education and Social Affairs members are Resio S. Moses (Chairman), Tiwiter Aritos (Vice-Chairman), Dohsis Halbert, Roosevelt D. Kansou, Manny Mori, Ramon Peyal, Claude H. Phillip.

Members of the Committee on External Affairs are Alik L. Alik (Chairman), Peter Sitan (Vice-Chairman), Tiwiter Aritos, Isaac V. Figir, Resio S. Moses, Moses A. Nelson, Dion G. Neth.

Committee on Transportation and Communication members are Moses A. Nelson (Chairman), Dion G. Neth (Vice-Chairman), Resio S. Moses, Ramon Peyal, Claude H. Phillip, Simiram Sipenuk, Peter Sitan.

The Committees on Ways and Means and Resources and Development with their new chairmen are expected to be busy this session conducting public hearings regarding the proposed fiscal year 2006 budget. Other committees will be busy as well with their concerns focused on the offices, departments, agencies or programs under their jurisdictions, unlike the Ways and Means Committee, which has to oversee all offices and programs when they come up for budget purposes.

Congressmen met briefly on Friday, May 20 and adopted two resolutions: one to congratulate Mr. Leo A. Falcam Jr. on his installation as the commending officer of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Okinawa, Japan and the other to hold a future special session of Congress in the State of Kosrae.

The resolution stated that Mr. Falcam Jr. was installed as the first Micronesian to be Commending Officer of the United States Marine Corps and the first Micronesian military pilot, therefore the Congress, in the resolution, expressed its profound congratulations and appreciation's to the gentleman for his achievements.

The second resolution would call upon the Congress to consider holding a session in the State of Kosrae as provided under the rules of procedure for the Congress. Speaker Christian stated for the second resolution that passage of such resolution doesn't meant the next session is necessarily need to be held in Kosrae. Because congress is trying to focus its work on the budget, it would make sure most of its work for the budget is done on Pohnpei, where most people who are responsible for justifications on the budget are in Pohnpei.Congress went into recess at 10:43 a.m. and was expected to reconvene on Monday, May 23, at the usual time of 10:00 a.m.