Discussions centered on the Medicaid “cliff” and parity with the states
WASHINGTON – This week at the White House, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and White House Deputy Assistant to the President & Director, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Douglas Hoelscher co-hosted territorial governors and members of Congress for the 2019 Senior Plenary Session of the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA).
“The IGIA remains an essential platform to amplify territorial issues and concerns by communicating them directly to the White House and Federal agencies,” said Acting Secretary Bernhardt, “we appreciated the candid comments by everyone.”
Senior federal officials at the IGIA heard from the governors and delegates on a wide range of issues, such as:
U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett highlighted several areas for potential increased collaboration and exploration with federal partners in fields such as energy, agriculture, technology, resilience to the changing climate, and transshipment. Territorial leadership all agreed that President Trump and his administration have been very responsive with respect to natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Typhoons Mangkhut and Yutu in the Pacific.
“My staff and I are looking at the various issues raised by the Governors to assess where we can make administrative fixes,” said Doug Domenech, Interior’s Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs. “We will be looking to collaborate closely with our federal partners, and the Congress, in these efforts.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to participate in this important dialogue with governors and other leaders from the insular territories,” said Doug Hoelscher, Deputy Assistant to the President & Director, White House Intergovernmental Affairs. “It was a fruitful conversation that helped highlight opportunities to improve the lives of Americans in the territories.”
Presenters at the 2019 IGIA included the following officials:
The Interagency Group on Insular Areas helps to ensure coordination and collaboration among federal agencies in addressing issues of concern to the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands. Established by Executive Order 13537, the group is co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and the White House Deputy Assistant to the President & Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The Assistant Secretary Insular and International Affairs and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA supports the Secretary's mission of Fulfilling Trust and Insular Responsibilities through balancing efforts and limited resources towards stronger economic and health capacities, and fiscal accountability in the U.S. insular areas.