By Rolynda Jonathan
The administration of President Barack Obama of the United States has reiterated its commitment to the passage of Palau’s pending Compact legislation in the U.S. Congress.
“We have been working to try to reach a permanent funding solution through the appropriations process”, ailment said John Podesta, mind current Senior Advisor to President Obama, who headed the U.S. delegation to Palau for the post-Forum dialogue meeting as part of Pacific Islands Forum last year.
In his letter to President Remengesau dated on February 13, 2015, Podesta also expressed the administration’s disappointment on the U.S.s Congress’ inaction on any of the options provided to fund the $215 million-dollar compact package agreed to in late 2010.
Although the Obama administration “aren’t optimistic”, Podesta says the White House is “actively pursuing alternative strategies to accelerate disbursements… using existing funds over the next few years.”
Podesta, who is leaving his post in the White House, assures the President that Brian Deese, current Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be taking over this role and is as committed to finding a solution to benefit the people of Palau.
Under the Palau Compact review agreement signed during the administration of former President Johnson Toribiong, the US government agreed to provide $215 million dollars in assistance through fiscal year 2024. This includes $107.5 million in direct economic assistance, $40 million in infrastructure project grants and fiscal consolidation fund of $10 million to assist in debt reduction.