The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed an amendment to a supplemental emergency disaster relief appropriations bill offered by American Samoan Congresswoman Amata Radewagen which would provide $5 million to the Territory of American Samoa for emergency nutrition assistance. The National Group, which represents the Governor of American Samoa before the federal government, coordinated lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill which helped facilitate the unanimous acceptance of the Radewagen Amendment.
In 2018, the American Samoan agricultural community suffered extensive damage to crops, farms, farm equipment and food distribution systems from Cyclone Gita resulting in the need for emergency nutrition assistance through the US Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Unlike States, SNAP benefits to U.S. territories are provided in block grants and cannot be increased automatically after natural disasters.
The House-passed disaster relief package will now go to the Senate for consideration. The National Group is lobbying Senators to support the supplemental nutrition aid for American Samoa.