Nov. 21, 2004 Before adjourning for the Thanksgiving Recess, the U.S. Congress approved three economic incentive measures for the territory. According to Delegate Donna M. Christensen, one would provide a rebate on duties paid on products imported into the Virgin Islands from the United States, another would provide a series of incentives to help Virgin Islands watch and jewelry companies remain competitive as duties on foreign-made watches are phased out and the third maintains the territory's two-to-one advantage for duty-free exemptions by having our limits increased from $1,200 to $1,600.
In other Congressional action, the House passed its Omnibus Appropriations measure funding the federal government for the next fiscal year on Saturday. Christensen, in a release Saturday night from her office, said that Virgin Islands hospitals stood to receive $1.5 million in an agreement struck with Chairman Joe Barton to assist the territories as they work to lift the cap on Medicaid. "This is new money,"Christensen said. "Not as much as we had hoped for, but it is an unexpected windfall and can be used as the hospitals see fit."
On the Senate side, Christensen said she received assurances that both the nominations of attorney Curtis Gomez and District Court Judge Raymond Finch were set be approved as soon as the Senate approves its judicial nominations. "The Senate was still in session at press time, but both nominations were set to pass if not before they adjourn today, when the lame duck session resumes on Dec. 6."
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