Nov. 22, 2004 — Delegate Donna M. Christensen said Monday the $1.5 million in funding for Virgin Islands hospitals she had announced over the weekend had been included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill was removed from the bill by the U.S. Senate early Sunday morning. (See "News Brief: V.I. Economic Incentives Pass Congress").
"It is extremely disappointing that after all the work that went into securing this badly needed funding for hospitals we weren't able to get the members of the U.S. Senate to agree to the mechanism that was developed to provide our hospitals with the money," Christensen said, in a release from her office. "We thought we had a deal but at the last minute, the agreement did not hold," Christensen said.
In spite of this setback, Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, through his staff, reiterated his commitment to working with Christensen and her other territorial colleagues, the release said, to address the inequities in Medicaid funding for the territories.
"I want to thank former House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton as well as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton and their respective staffs for working with my colleagues Madeleine Bordallo from Guam and Eni Faleomavagea from American Samoa and I to try to get us the money. The fact that we came this close to securing this additional funding only makes us committed to redoubling our efforts next year," Christensen said.
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