Guam – Acting Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes participated in a conference call with legislative leaders nationwide this morning during which U.S> Vice-President Joe Biden briefed participants on the debt ceiling compromise bill reached in Washington earlier this week.
During the conference call, Vice President Biden, said that the debt ceiling compromise was vital in maintaining the nation’s AAA credit rating and reducing our structural deficit over the long term.
Biden said, “This doesn’t solve your problems, but it avoids making the problems worse.”
Highlights of the debt ceiling compromise:
• $350 billion in defense spending cuts over the next ten (10) years. This number may increase to $500 billion if no agreement is made on a deficit reduction plan by January 2012.
• A “firewall” around domestic discretionary spending. The firewall will maintain current levels of domestic discretionary spending ensuring no entitlement increases or cuts for the next two (2) years.
• A promise to veto any measure to extend the Bush tax cuts past 2012 therefore restoring $1 trillion in additional yearly revenues.
• The administration will release an aggressive job creation package over the next 18 months.
Following the call, Acting Speaker Tina Muña Barnes said in a release:
“Though economic policy is sometimes hard to understand, we all know that when we’re in a hole, we should stop digging. The focus of the debt compromise was to cut our national deficit while keeping our economy on the road to recovery. We appreciate the work that has already been done but we need to move from hope to real help.”
“My office in cooperation with Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz will be seeking clarification on the impact of the debt ceiling compromise on Medicaid and Medicare on Guam and the other US territories. She also said, “Along with our colleagues from the 31st Guam Legislature, we look forward to working with Congresswoman Madeline Z. Bordallo, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo and the Obama administration to ensure that Guam is a part of the upcoming job creation package.”