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111th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    111-357

======================================================================

 
 AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO EXTEND GRANTS AND OTHER 
 ASSISTANCE TO FACILITATE A POLITICAL STATUS PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM 
                         FOR THE PEOPLE OF GUAM

                                _______
                                

December 7, 2009.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Rahall, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3940]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3940) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to 
extend grants and other assistance to facilitate a political 
status public education program for the people of Guam, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

  The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

  Congress reaffirms that it is the responsibility of the Secretary of 
the Interior to advance the economic, social, and political development 
of the territories of the United States.

SEC. 2. ASSISTANCE FOR POLITICAL STATUS PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

  (a) In General.--Section 601 of the Act entitled ``An Act to 
authorize appropriations for certain insular areas of the United 
States, and for other purposes'', approved December 24, 1980 (48 U.S.C. 
1469d), is amended--
          (1) by redesignating subsections (b) through (d) as 
        subsections (c) through (e), respectively; and
          (2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following new 
        subsection:
  ``(b) The Secretary of the Interior may extend to the governments of 
American Samoa, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands, and their 
agencies and instrumentalities, assistance, including assistance in the 
form of grants, research, planning assistance, studies, and agreements 
with Federal agencies, to facilitate public education programs 
regarding political status options for their respective territories.''.
  (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 19(a)(2)(C) of the Food Stamp Act 
of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2028(a)(2)(C)) is amended by striking ``section 
601(c) of Public Law 96-597 (48 U.S.C. 1469d(c))'' and inserting 
``section 601(d) of Public Law 96-597 (48 U.S.C. 1469d(d))''.

  Amend the title so as to read:

      A bill to amend Public Law 96-597 to clarify the 
authority of the Secretary of the Interior to extend grants and 
other assistance to facilitate political status public 
education programs for the peoples of the non-self-governing 
territories of the United States.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 3940, as amended, is to amend Public 
Law 96-597 to clarify the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to extend grants and other assistance to facilitate 
political status public education programs for the peoples of 
the non-self-governing territories of the United States.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    H.R. 3940, as ordered reported, clarifies the authority of 
the Secretary of the Interior to extend grants and other forms 
of appropriate assistance to facilitate political status public 
education programs for the peoples of the three non-self-
governing territories of the United States: Guam, American 
Samoa, and the United States Virgin Islands.
    The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial 
Countries and Peoples, adopted by resolution of the United 
Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1960, applies today to 
the United States with respect to the territories of Guam, 
American Samoa, and the United States Virgin Islands. Each of 
these three territories is among the listed 16 territories 
recognized as non-self-governing by the international community 
and the United Nations. Accordingly, under Article 73 of the 
United Nations Charter, the United States assumes 
responsibility for ensuring that the people of Guam, American 
Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands are accorded due 
respect for their culture. The United States further assumes 
the obligation to develop their self-government taking into 
account their political aspirations, and to assist them in the 
progressive development of their free political institutions.
    Each of these three territories is also an ``unincorporated 
territory'' of the United States because the United States 
Congress has not expressly and fully applied to them all 
provisions of the United States Constitution. Each of these 
territories was ceded to the United States under unique 
historical circumstances at different times and under terms of 
separate treaties.
    Guam was ceded by Spain to the United States, along with 
Puerto Rico, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris that ended 
the Spanish-American War in 1898. American Samoa became a 
territory of the United States by deeds of cession under the 
terms of the Treaty of Berlin of 1899. Congress formally 
ratified the 1900 and 1904 deeds of cession retroactively in 
1929. In 1917, the Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and 
St. Croix were ceded under a treaty by Demark to the United 
States.
    The territorial clause in Article IV of the United States 
Constitution vests with the United States Congress plenary 
authority over the territories, and the specific power to 
dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations 
respecting them. Historically Congress has exercised such 
plenary authority in passing legislation affecting the 
disposition of territories and the admission of territories 
into the federal union. The political status of the 
unincorporated territories remains a matter for the United 
States Congress to ultimately resolve.
    Each of the three unincorporated territories affected by 
H.R. 3940 has similar but limited forms of self-government. In 
the specific cases of the governments organized in Guam and the 
Virgin Islands, such limited, local self-government derives its 
authority from and is organized in accordance with separate 
statutes enacted by the United States Congress: the Organic Act 
of Guam, enacted in 1950 (48 U.S.C. 1421 et seq.), and the 
Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, enacted in 1936 (48 U.S.C. 
1405 et seq.) and revised in 1954 (48 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.). The 
people of American Samoa, however, in the absence of an organic 
act or other explicit Congressional directive on their 
governance, successfully drafted and adopted their own 
constitution in 1967. The Congress has periodically amended the 
Organic Acts of Guam and the Virgin Islands, and also passed 
laws affecting American Samoa, which are oriented toward their 
political development and advancement. Each of these 
territories today elects a Governor by popular election as well 
as a local legislature to establish local law. Each territory 
is also represented by a Delegate to Congress in accordance 
with laws passed by the Congress.
    Each of these territories upon their acquisition by the 
United States was placed initially under the authority of the 
Department of the Navy. Administrative authority and 
responsibility for these territories, however, was later 
transferred to the Department of the Interior by separate 
executive orders: in 1931 for the Virgin Islands; 1949 for 
Guam, and 1951 for American Samoa. The granting of this 
authority was also codified in the Organic Acts of the Virgin 
Islands and Guam. Today, the responsibility to advance the 
economic, social and political development of the territories 
remains with the Secretary of the Interior. Section 1 of H.R. 
3940 reaffirms this responsibility, and matters affecting these 
territories are handled by the Department of the Interior's 
Office of Insular Affairs.
    Although Congress established by law a process in 1976 for 
the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands to advance their 
self-government by adoption of constitutions through local 
political processes, these past attempts were unsuccessful due 
in large part to uncertainty regarding the effects of such 
action on the right to self-determination and ultimate 
resolution of political status.
    Beginning in the 1980s, interest in the territories in the 
issue of their political status prompted the establishment of 
local commissions to facilitate evaluation of various status 
options and a process by which their people could freely 
express their desires on the status question. These efforts 
followed the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands, a former Trust Territory of the Pacific 
Islands for which the United States was trustee, by a 
negotiated Covenant approved by the Congress in 1976. The 
United States Government assisted the people of the Northern 
Marianas and the other former trust territories in resolving 
their status and in structuring and conducting status education 
and plebiscites.
    In 1980 both the governments of Guam and the Virgin Islands 
established local commissions to work on improving and 
resolving the political status of their respective territories. 
After a plebiscite in Guam was held in 1982, and consistent 
with its outcome, local leaders of Guam pursued the drafting 
and the subsequent enactment by the Congress of the Guam 
Commonwealth Act. The drafted legislation was approved by the 
people of Guam in two separate referendums held in 1987 and 
introduced in six consecutive Congresses (the 100th through the 
105th Congresses). A legislative hearing by the Committee on 
Resources of the 105th Congress was held on the Guam 
Commonwealth Act on October 29, 1997, but no further 
legislative action was taken.
    Because the aspirations of the people of Guam to improve 
their political status through the enactment of the Guam 
Commonwealth Act were not realized despite the efforts made by 
Guam's representatives, the Administration and the Congress, a 
new local commission was established on Guam in 1997 to work 
toward the holding of a new plebiscite to allow the people of 
Guam to express their opinion on status between three options: 
independence, free association with the United States, and 
statehood. Such a plebiscite necessitates a public education 
program to explain the options and help voters prepare to make 
an informed decision. Today, the Guam Commission on 
Decolonization, established under the laws of the Government of 
Guam, is charged with preparing for the plebiscite.
    In the Virgin Islands, a referendum was held in 1993 on the 
question of status in which roughly 31 percent of eligible 
voters participated. Because participation was below the 50 
percent plus one required by local law, the Virgin Islands 
Commission on Status and Federal Relations was disbanded on 
December 31, 1993.
    With regards to American Samoa, the Congress has considered 
legislation introduced in the past to establish a federally-
appointed commission to study and report on all factors that 
led to the territory's historical and present political status 
and relationship with the United States, and to make 
recommendations about status as it would determine appropriate.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 3940 was introduced on October 27, 2009, by 
Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Chairwoman 
Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife. On 
November 5, 2009, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. 
The Director of the Office of Insular Affairs at the Department 
of the Interior testified that the Department has no objection 
to enactment of H.R. 3940 and also emphasized the Department 
recognizes the importance of a public education program to the 
people of the territories when political status is under 
consideration. The Governor of Guam also testified in support 
of H.R. 3940.
    On November 18, 2009, the Subcommittee was discharged from 
further consideration of H.R. 3940 and the full Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. Subcommittee 
Chairwoman Bordallo offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute making technical and conforming changes to the bill, 
and making the territories of American Samoa and the Virgin 
Islands also eligible for assistance under the bill. The 
amendment was adopted by unanimous consent. The bill, as 
amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by unanimous consent.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to amend Public 
Law 96-597 to clarify the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to extend grants and other assistance to facilitate 
political status public education programs for the peoples of 
the non-self-governing territories of the United States.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

H.R. 3940--A bill to amend Public Law 96-597 to clarify the authority 
        of the Secretary of the Interior to extend grants and other 
        assistance to facilitate political status public education 
        programs for the peoples of the non-self-governing territories 
        of the United States

    H.R. 3940 would authorize the Department of the Interior 
(DOI) to provide assistance to some U.S. insular areas (Guam, 
American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) in implementing 
programs to educate their citizens about options for the 
political status of those areas--including, but not limited to 
statehood, free association, independence, or maintaining the 
status quo. Currently, those areas are territories of the 
United States. Based on information from DOI and the costs of 
similar programs, CBO estimates that implementing such public 
education programs would cost the federal government about $2 
million over the 2010-2014 period, subject to the availability 
of appropriated funds. Enacting the bill would not affect 
direct spending or revenues.
    The legislation contains no intergovernmental or private-
sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           Earmark Statement

    H.R. 3940 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

               Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

              SECTION 601 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 24, 1980

  An Act to authorize appropriations for certain insular areas of the 
                 United States, and for other purposes.

  Sec. 601. General Technical Assistance.--(a)  * * *
  (b) The Secretary of the Interior may extend to the 
governments of American Samoa, Guam, and the United States 
Virgin Islands, and their agencies and instrumentalities, 
assistance, including assistance in the form of grants, 
research, planning assistance, studies, and agreements with 
Federal agencies, to facilitate public education programs 
regarding political status options for their respective 
territories.
  [(b)] (c) The Secretary of the Interior is further authorized 
to provide technical assistance to, and maintenance of 
agricultural plantings and physical facilities for, the peoples 
from Enewetak Atoll and Bikini Atoll, as well as for the 
purchase of food and equipment and for the transportation of 
such food, equipment and persons as he deems necessary and 
appropriate until such areas produce sufficient food to fully 
sustain the residents after resettlement. This provision shall 
not cease to be applicable either before or after the 
termination of the trusteeship without the express approval of 
the United States Congress.
  [(c)] (d) The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to 
extend, in his discretion, programs administered by the 
Department of Agriculture to Guam, the Northern Mariana 
Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific IsIands, the Virgin 
Islands, and American Samoa (hereinafter called the 
territories). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to waive or modify any 
statutory requirements relating to the provision of assistance 
under such programs when he deems it necessary in order to 
adapt the programs to the needs of the respective territory: 
Provided, That not less than sixty days prior to extending any 
program pursuant to this section or waiving or modifying any 
statutory requirement pursuant to this section, the Secretary 
of Agriculture shall notify the Committee on Agriculture and 
the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and 
Forestry of the Senate of his proposed action together with an 
explanation of why his action is necessary and the anticipated 
benefits to each territory affected. Such programs shall be 
carried out in cooperation with the respective governments of 
the territories and shall be covered by a memorandum of 
understanding between the respective territorial government and 
the Department of Agriculture. Any sums appropriated pursuant 
to this paragraph shall be allocated to the agencies of the 
Department of Agriculture concerned with the administration of 
programs in the territories.
  [(d)] (e) Effective October 1, 1981, there are authorized to 
be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the 
purposes of this section.
                              ----------                              


FOOD STAMP ACT OF 1977

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 19. CONSOLIDATED BLOCK GRANTS FOR PUERTO RICO AND AMERICAN SAMOA.

  (a) Payments to Governmental Entities.--
          (1) * * *
          (2) Block grants.--
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (C) Payments to american samoa.--For fiscal 
                year 2003 and each fiscal year thereafter, the 
                Secretary shall use 0.4 percent of the funds 
                made available under subparagraph (A) for 
                payment to American Samoa to pay 100 percent of 
                the expenditures by American Samoa for a 
                nutrition assistance program extended under 
                [section 601(c) of Public Law 96-597 (48 U.S.C. 
                1469d(c))] section 601(d) of Public Law 96-597 
                (48 U.S.C. 1469d(d)).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *