Biden administration to reduce financial burden on U.S territories

(L-R) FSM Vice President Aren Palik, U.S. Special Envoy for Compact Negotiations Joseph Yun, and FSM President David Panuelo

The Biden administration has announced new efforts to reduce the financial burden on the U.S territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and U.S Virgin Islands. 

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has directed all federal agencies and departments to waive local cost share requirements under US$200,000 for grants for the four U.S territories. For local matching funds US$200,000 and greater, agencies and departments may waive the matching requirement for these four territories.

At the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) annual conference, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that the Interior Department will extend the waiver of all match requirements, regardless of amount.

“Accelerated by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the Interior Department is making coordinated investments in the U.S territories to conserve public lands and ecosystems, bolster climate resilience, and safeguard the environment for future generations,” said Secretary Haaland. “In implementing this new policy, territorial governments will have greater flexibility to access these funds, further equipping them to upgrade critical infrastructure and invest in climate resilience.”

Secretary Haaland and Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Chávez Rodriguez serve as the IGIA co-chairs and delivered remarks at the event, which was moderated by Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor.

“President Biden is committed to expanding access to federal programs and breaking barriers for disadvantaged and underrepresented communities,” said Director Chávez Rodriguez. “This policy will help level the playing field and enable access to new resources for the territories.”