One of the agreements reached during the meeting between Gov Lou Leon Guerrero and members of the Legislature on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding was the use of federal funds to give out the $800 in direct payments provided for by the RISE Act.
The Legislature, in its submitted list of priorities for ARPA funding, included the implementation of Public Law 35-136 – the Recovery Income Support and Empowerment (RISE) Program, which allots $30 million to provide direct payments to eligible Guam residents impacted by the public health emergency through the implementation of the RISE Act.
Under this program, eligible individuals will receive a one-time payment of $800 and joint filers will receive $1600 as described in P.L. 35-136.
The governor had not previously implemented the program because GovGuam workers were ineligible.
During an impromptu talk with reporters after the meeting with the senators, the governor said she will implement the RISE program and expand it to include GovGuam employees.
“Remember, we as government employees were not allowed to qualify. The retirees were not allowed to participate. And so my whole thing is, if you are negatively impacted as a result of COVID, I would certainly want to provide some kind of assistance to help you move along to get you to the level where you can sustain your life,” Leon Guerrero said.
Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas, in an earlier news conference, said ARPA funding may be used for the $800 RISE Act and the $500 Ayuda I Mangafa’ Help for Families Program.
According to San Nicolas, both these programs may fall under ARPA’s delivering assistance to workers and families provision.
Senator Jose Pedo Terlaje issued the following statement after the senators’ meeting today with the Governor and Lt. Governor with regard to the $604 million in anticipated American Recovery Act Funds:
“I’m pleased to announce one of the top priorities we agreed on is paying the RISE Act payments, $800 in direct aid per person to our working families. GovGuam will receive the funds in 4 days so I hope the Governor can begin processing RISE payments soon.”