U.S. House committee advances legislation addressing Marshall Islands, other Pacific nations

An aerial photo shows a small section of the atoll that has slipped beneath the water line, only showing a small pile of rocks at low tide, on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Nov. 8, 2015. For decades, the tiny nation of the Marshall Islands has been a stalwart American ally. Its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has made it a key strategic outpost for the U.S. military. (AP/Rob Griffith)

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee took a forward step in renewing the United States' agreements with Pacific island nations, including the Republic of the Marshall Islands.