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Press Release

Historic Agreement Supporting Pacific Allies Signed Into Law

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Today, the renewed Compacts of Free Association (COFA) were officially signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"During my time as chairman, renewing the Compacts of Free Association has been a top priority. Now, with this legislation officially signed into law, our allies in the Indo-Pacific can rest assured that the United States stands hand-in-hand with them as they resist the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party. I'd like to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate who helped usher this agreement forward and President Biden for signing it into law."


Westerman introduced the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act following the work of the bipartisan Indo-Pacific Task Force and after leading a historic bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) to the Indo-Pacific in August 2023. The legislation approves and incorporates by reference agreements signed between the U.S. and the three Freely Associated States (FAS) – the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia – for the new COFA period, from Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 through FY 2043.

The U.S. has vital security and economic interests throughout the Indo-Pacific region, particularly amid rising competition with the People's Republic of China. The importance of the FAS for the U.S. cannot be overstated, given the proximity to the U.S. homeland and the broader geopolitical context. 

The COFA agreements include granting the U.S. sole and unfettered military access to the lands, waters and airspace of the FAS while providing economic assistance in grants and contributions to accountable trust funds, access to certain U.S. federal programs for FAS citizens and the ability for FAS citizens to live and work in the U.S. The renewed COFA will also strengthen oversight and accountability measures for U.S. implementation and management of the COFA economic provisions.