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DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1992
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24. 1991
Mi lington, DC. The subcommittee met at 9:40 a.m., in room SD-192, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Daniel K. Akaka presiding.
Present: Senators Inouye and Specter.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR DANIEL K. AKAKA
Senator AKAKA. Aloha. AUDIENCE. Aloha. Senator AKAKA. Today the subcommittee will continue with its fifth day of testimony from approximately 150 congressional and public witnesses. We have scheduled six special sessions to hear this testimony.
This year the committee had requests from 307 individuals and public organizations to testify before the subcommittee. Unfortunately, because of the limitations of time we were able to schedule only the first 150 such individuals and organizations who wrote to us. And those of you who are on the list I would say are fortunate to be included in the 150.
I regret that we cannot hear everyone, but the committee has made it known to those who did not make the cutoff that we would be pleased to publish their statements in the hearing record.
Today we will hear testimony on a wide range of subjects, including education, job training, health professions, education, and biomedical research, with emphasis on a number of diseases, and finally testimony from some of the health associations.
We have noticed that a number of the statements suggest increases of well over $1 billion and well over 50 percent increases for just a handful of programs. Needless to say, the Budget Enforcement Act has given us all a very difficult situation this year, and from that act we expect a growth of 4 to 5 percent over the 1991 level in total for the subcommittee.
While I am sure that we will agree on the importance of the several programs that we will discuss this morning, the amount of funding increases that we will be able to provide will be limited. I look forward to the advice of each one of you in making the many difficult decisions that face us this year.
It is a particular pleasure for me to welcome my friends from Hawaii this morning and to thank you for the fine traditions and gestures that come from Hawaii traditionally. And I want to say mahalo for this lovely lei that has been presented to me and also to tell you that the chairman is not here presently. He is on his way and, in the interest of trying to stay on time, we decided to proceed this morning.
But I want to tell you personally, it is good to walk through that door and look into faces such as yours from Hawaii and to person, ally welcome you here to Washington, DC, and to this panel and to this hearing, and that your manao will be recorded and it will certainly be helpful to the committee in its deliberations.
And because the chairman is not here, I am going to suggest that we hold off the panels from Hawaii, because I know he wants to hear you directly, and to proceed with other witnesses here. Before I do that, I would like to give you my manao, and after that I will call on Dr. LaSalle Leffal because I understand that Dr. Leffall has to leave early. So after I am done, I will be calling you for your testimony, Dr. Leffal.
I want you to know that I do appreciate this opportunity to testify before this subcommittee in support of labor, education, and health programs which benefit native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. I would like to extend a warm aloha again to all of you who have taken the time and the long trip from Hawaii.
I know how some of you feel. I just arrived here yesterday morning, leaving Hawaii Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. and working until late last night.
There is no doubt that the programs we are here to discuss have greatly contributed to the well-being of native Hawaiian people and our brothers and sisters in the Pacific islands.
I will keep my remarks brief, as I have attached a more detailed statement regarding today's programs for the record. What I would like to share with you today is my disappointment and concern over the administration's systematic attack on native Hawaiian programs.
The President's fiscal year 1992 budget request for native American programs, once again, deleted funding for the native Hawaiian Education Act. While I am confident that the Congress will restore funding, I must express my continued disappointment with the administration's arguments for the deletion of these programs.
The assertion by the Department of Education that the educational and economic status of native Hawaiians is well above that of other national minority groups is not only misleading, but also potentially harmful to other native Hawaiian Federal programs. Census data selectively chosen by the Department to make its case not only fails to take into account the cost of living in Hawaii, but also fails to recognize that native Hawaiians still fall below State and national averages for most social indicators.
Moreover, it fails to mention that the plight and displacement of native Hawaiians is largely due to the long history of American involvement with the native Hawaiian people. That involvement includes the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 and the forced annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1898.
The U.S. Government has never recognized the wrongfulness of its actions. Nor has it recognized its trust responsibility to the native Hawaiian people. The native Hawaiians are an indigenous population whose lives and culture have been dramatically altered by these events and the impact of westernization in the Hawaiian Islands. The administration cannot ignore this.
To have the most dismal health and education statistics compared to other ethnic populations in their homeland is sad enough. But for the administration to continue to deny that it has a trust responsibility for the welfare of native Hawaiians is outright shameful.
My concern about administration policy is further demonstrated by the administration's attack on native Hawaiian provisions in the National Affordable Housing Act. The White House has stated it intends to develop legislation to overturn Congress' determination that the trust responsibility owed to native Hawaiians justifies this housing preference. Again, we have a clear indication of how poorly the administration understands its responsibility to native Hawaiians.
I recommend that the administration do some basic research on American involvement with the Hawaiian Islands. It will learn about the U.S. violation of international law in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. It will learn that the native Hawaiians were a self-sufficient people in 1893. It will learn about the subsequent unjust and mismanaged policies which have affected my people.
It will learn about some of the reasons for the dismal statistics on health, education, crime, and violence. And it will learn why we are here today to seek continued Federal funding for native Hawaiian programs and programs in the Pacific. [The statement follows:
STATEMENT OF SENATOR DANIEL K. AKAKA Chairman Inouye and members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear today in support of labor, education, and health programs whích benefit Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT SERVICES The State of Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations JobHelp Store Project provides essential outreach and acculturation services to help prepare Pacific Islanders and immigrants enter the work force. The JobHelp Store, working closely with community organizations, the Hawaii Department of Education, and public and private sector employers, offers acculturation and transition support, language education, and skill training classes to new immigrant workers.
In operation for three years, the JobHelp Store has helped hundreds of immigrants to the state. Over 400 former participants are now employed, and 500 people are currently enrolled in the program. The employment rate for immigrants terminating participation in the program is over 75 percent. The tremendous success of the program has attracted statewide attention and interest among Asian immigrants and Pacific Islanders. The continuing increase in applications for assistance reflects the positive response generated by the program.
With four JobHelp Stores in operation by this summer, the program will be accessible to the 40,000 immigrants and Pacific Islanders on all islands. The JobHelp Store program is also an important component of the state's effort to alleviate Hawaii's labor shortage. Trained skilled workers, proficient in English, are desperately needed in the Hawaii labor market. The JobHelp program addresses the current labor shortage while providing an opportunity for security and self-sufficiency to immigrants too often excluded from the labor market.
Recommendation: The fiscal year 1991 appropriations bill contained $2,500,000 for JobHelp stores. For 1992, I ask that $2,500,000 be provided to continue and develop the JobHelp program.
HAWAII JOB CORPS The Hawaii Job Corps has a twenty-five year history of providing alternate means of vocational training for students in Hawaii and Micronesia unable to gain the needed education in a conventional classroom
or school. The Job Corps has assisted these students to become productive, self-sufficient members of society, helping instill in them a sense of self-esteem and independence.
The Hawaii Job Corps operates three campuses in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands. The Hawaii centers share a national reputation of being top performing facilities offering quality educational programs. Since 1965 the main campus has been situated at Koko Head Park on Oahu, which is owned by the City & County of Honolulu. The City & County intends to use the land for a recreational park upon expiration of the Job Corps lease.
The State of Hawaii, U.S. Department of Labor, and the Hawaii Job Corps Center are working on plans to relocate the Koko Head Center to a 12 acre parcel of land at Waimanalo, also located on Oahu. This new center will allow an expansion in the education and training programs now available to the youth of Hawaii and Micronesia.
Recommendation: According to data submitted to the committee last year, the total estimated cost for design, construction and equipment, and rental of the land for the Waimanalo facility is $11,845,000. I request funding in fiscal year 1992 at an appropriate level to permit the establishment of the new Hawaii Job Corps Center.
NATIVE HAWAIIAN EDUCATION PROGRAMS
With the enactment of the Native Hawaiian Education Act in 1988, Native Hawaiians benefited from five educational programs wh recognize their unique cultural circumstances and needs: the Model Curriculum Implementation Project, the Family-Based Education Centers, the Higher Education Demonstration Program, the Gifted and Talented Demonstration Project, and the Special Education Program.
Census data and studies clearly demonstrate the deficiency of Native Hawaiian children and adults in the field of education. I'm sure we will hear testimony today confirming such data. We will also hear about the progress of current federal education programs available to Native Hawaiians.
The President's fiscal year 1992 budget request for Native American Programs, once again, deleted funding for the Native Hawaiian Education Act. While I am confident that the Congress will restore funding, I must express my continued disappointment with the Administration's arguments for the deletion of these programs.
The assertion by the U.S. Department of Education that the educational and economic status of Native Hawaiians is well above that of other national minority groups is not only misleading, but also potentially harmful to other Native Hawaiian federal programs. Census data selectively chosen by the Department to make its case not only fails to take into account the cost of living in Hawaii, but also fails to recognize that Native Hawaiians still fall below the state and national average for most social indicators.
The Native Hawaiians are an indigenous population whose lives and culture have been dramatically altered by the impact of westernization in the Hawaiian islands. The Administration cannot ignore this.
To have the most dismal health and education statistics in comparison to other ethnic populations in their homeland is sad enough. But for the Administration to continually deny that it has a trust responsibility for the welfare of Native Hawaiians is outright shameful.
It is time that the Administration wake up, and recognize the special circumstances of its historical and political relationship with the Native Hawaiian people.
In addition to renewing our congressional support for the programs which fall under the Native Hawaiian Education Act, I ask that the subcommittee fully support other educational programs which assist Native Hawaiians, such as the Native Hawaiian Vocational Education Program and the Native Hawaiian Library Project. Recommendation: $6.4 million was provided in fiscal year 1991 for the Native Hawaiian Education Act. I recommend that $6.7 million be provided for fiscal year 1992.
PACIFIC BASIN HEALTH In 1989, the University of Hawaii School of Public Health conducted a comprehensive re-survey of the health status of U.S.-related jurisdictions in the Pacific. This survey was commissioned by the Public Health Service which is currently preparing a summary report to Congress. I look forward, as do my Congressional colleagues, to receiving this report.
We already know, from the previous survey done in 1984, that the U.S.-related Pacific Islands have been experiencing rapid change, with population growth and development. Their populations have many health problems associated with social disruption. Resources in this region are scare and there is increasing demand on health services and resources. Preventable health problems continue to persist.
In the fiscal year 1991 $2.44 million was appropriated for Pacific Basin health ini. tiatives. Of this amount $1.65 million was for the Medical Officers Program, which provides training for about 125 Micronesian medical officers who will provide primary health care in severely underserved areas of American Samoa and the Trust Territories.
The other funds are for initiatives to improve health services and systems in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Fed. erated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Emphasis is placed on preventive health services, mental health, substance abuse, epidemiological issues, matemal and child health, and environmental health.
I believe that the 1989 data will revalidate the continuing need for federal support to build local health care capacity in the Pacific region.
STATEMENT OF HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, U.S. REP
RESENTATIVE FROM AMERICAN SAMOA Senator AKAKA. I would like at this time- ' should tell you that we are expecting Members of Cngress from Hawaii, Con. gresswoman Patsy Mink and Congressman Neil Abercrombie. And we also have present here a Congressman from Samoa, and I would like to call on my friend, my brother, the Congressman from Samoa, Congressman Faleomavaega, and ask him to come forward. Following him will be Dr. LaSalle Leifall.
I welcome my brother from Samoa and look forward to your testimony to the committee this morning.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before this distinguished committee. I would like to ask the chairman, request that my statement be made part of the record in total.
Senator AKAKA. Without objection, it will be added to the record.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. In the intere it of time and for the others who wish to testify, I will summari'e my statement accordingly. But before doing so, Mr. Chairman, I want to express my sincere aloha to you for the outstanding leadership that you have displayed, not only on behalf of the people of Hawaii, but certainly for all of the native Americans throughout America.
I want to express my aloha to you, and we miss you on the House side, even though we know that you are doing such a tremendous job here, not only on behalf of our Nation, but certainly for the good people of Hawaii.
I am sorry I am the only one remaining there. I suppose I am still going to carry on a caucus there as the Polynesian caucus in that respect. But nevertheless, I shall endeavor to do the best I