By Derrick DePledge
The center long served as the symbol the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye used to explain how the often criticized earmark process benefited Hawaii.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, who was appointed to replace Inouye, successfully obtained the earmark.
From the Pig Book:
$5.9 million for the East-West Center in Hawaii, which is intended to promote better relations with Pacific and Asian nations. The center was established by Congress in 1960 with no congressional hearings, and over the State Department’s opposition. For years, the State Department tried to eliminate the center by not requesting funding in the department’s annual budget requests. After Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) passed away in 2013, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) willingly stepped up to the plate to defend the center. In a January 16, 2014 press release, Sen. Schatz claimed an appropriations victory for adding the $5.9 million to the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill, making it clear that he is responsible for this earmark. Since FY 1997, the East-West Center has received 11 earmarks totaling $109.7 million.
This is a mainland group that clearly doesn't understand Hawaii's needs and the investments that have always been important to our state. Making sure Hawaii continues to receive our fair share is part of my job in the Senate. Given that the East-West Center has a direct role supporting President Obama’s focus on the Asia-Pacific, one of my top priorities was to work with Senate leaders to increase funding for the Center and make sure Hawaii continues to do well in the appropriations process.