Congress approves $62.5 million for native Hawaiian programs
The bill now goes to President Bush for signature
Congress has approved a federal budget bill that allocates $62.5 million for native Hawaiian education, housing and health care, Hawaii's congressional delegation said today.
The Senate passed the legislation yesterday 81-15. The House voted 286 to 140 to approve the bill late last month.
The legislation now goes to President Bush for his signature, Hawaii's four Democratic representatives in Washington -- two in the Senate and two in the House -- said in a joint statement.
"I am pleased that Hawaii's congressional delegation, and the Democratic Party as a whole, came together to preserve vital health and education opportunities for Native Hawaiians," said Senator Daniel K. Akaka.
The funds, if signed by Bush, would benefit overall public health in Hawaii and the state's education infrastructure, Akaka added.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said the bill enabled lawmakers to fund items that were left out of the budget for this fiscal year, which goes through Sept. 30.
"Fortunately, we were able to rectify some of the shortcomings of the current budget as it pertains to Native Hawaiian initiatives," Inouye said.
The new bill includes:
» Nearly $34 million for Native Hawaiian education programs under the No Child Left Behind Act.
» Nearly $14 million for health care under the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act.
» Nearly $9 million for Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grants
» Nearly $6 million through the Native Alaskan/Native Hawaiian Institutional Aid provision of the Higher Education Act.