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Kilili: White House receives US Workforce Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate, Office of the CNMI Governor) — The White House has received the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan announced Friday. President Trump now has 10 days in which to sign the bill, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. The final day for action is July 24.

“The White House contacted the Washington congressional office this morning to let us know the bill had been received and that the 10-day clock was now running for the President to make his decision,” Congressman Sablan said. “Yesterday, Senator Hatch, as President pro tempore of the Senate signed the enrolled bill. The day before Speaker pro tempore Mr. Mitchell signed for the House. So, the process has moved along swiftly now that Congress is back in session.”

The House passed the U.S. Workforce Act on June 5 and the Senate acted on June 28, minutes before Congress recessed for the Independence Day break. Before any legislation passed by Congress is sent to the President for action, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, or their designees, must first sign the enrolled bill.

Looking ahead, Congressman Sablan said he is already in discussion with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about quickly re-opening the application window for FY 2019 CW permits. The Trump administration cut the number of CW permits for 2019 in half, to 4,999, leaving many Marianas businesses without needed workers. The U.S. Workforce Act raises the number of permits for 2019 to 13,000.

“Now, we want to be sure our local businesses and the workers, who were unable to renew for 2019, are able to get applications in immediately to take advantage of the extra 8,001 CW permits that we made available in the U.S. Workforce Act,” said Congressman Sablan.

In a separate statement on Friday, Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres said:

“The White House called today and informed me that they received the CW bill officially today after lunch. They informed us that the President will sign the bill, but to be patient as it may take until July 24th because of a backlog of bills the President needs to sign. They assured me that they know how important it is for our economy and our people will do everything they can to move it quickly.

“Additionally, the White House is working hand in hand with DHS USCIS to get the new law implemented as quickly as possible. They will keep us updated on the progress. As always, thank you for your patience. I know this has been a long journey, but we have worked very hard over the last few years to get to this point, and we’ll see to it that it benefits everyone who calls these islands home.”images/photos/misc/whiteHouse12L.jpg