AUDIO: Speaker’s Weekly Address – Sequestration

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Guam – The impact of sequestration on Guam is the focus Speaker Judi Won Pat’s Weekly Address.

 

HEAR the Speaker’s Weekly Address HERE>>>03-06 speaker address 3-6-13.mp3

Sequestration
Buenas yan Hafa Adai!

For several months, national headlines and top news stories have featured the word sequestration.

Sequestration – what is it and how will it affect our island community? In short, sequestration is a series of automatic, across the board cuts to federal agencies. In total, these cuts amount to $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

These cuts are supposed to be indiscriminate and will be split fifty/fifty between defense and domestic discretionary spending and is expected to have an effect on communities in all 50 states and territories.

The hope by the powers that be is that these cuts would allow the United States to get a handle on the national debt which is currently estimated at $16 trillion.

On Guam, many are wondering how sequestration will affect our island community. We already know that there will be impacts across the board at the federal level.

What we need to learn is how the national cuts will trickle down and affect Guam.  Here at the legislature, we are beginning the assessment process to  gauge this effect.

We need to learn the overall impact that the sequester will have on our government agencies, and programs and services provided by this government; on our federal workforce; and the military realignment in the Pacific.

Governor Calvo recently returned from the National Governors Association conference in Washington D.C., and since we are in the midst of sequestration, he and other departments and agencies have already been informed of certain aspects of these cuts.       

My colleagues and I will be hosting roundtables and meetings in the coming days to ascertain from the administration and the agencies the expected impact to their respective department or agency and the levels of services affected and their plans to adjust accordingly.  

We are asking that the agencies identify among other issues – the following:  

1.      grants or programs that these agencies expect to be canceled, delayed or reduced and the potential amount of federal funding loss;
2.      contracts that may need to be canceled, the scope to be changed, or delayed;
3.      the number of employees who will be furloughed, the length of expected furloughs, the timing of when furlough notices will be issued, and how the  furloughs will be administered;
4.      Contingency plans to cover the funding losses;
5.      and any other impacts sequestrations will have on the respective departments or agencies.

Senator Ben Pangelinan kicks of these meetings today with the Office of Finance & Budget’s Special Economic Services, the SES is comprised of the directors of the Department of Administration, Rev & Tax and BBMR among others. Top of the agenda discussion is the Federal Sequester Impact.

Tomorrow, my Committee on Education, Public Library and Women’s Affairs will host the University of Guam, the Guam Community College, the Department of Education, our Library and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs.

Others roundtables will follow. Sen. Aguon has reached out to agencies within his committee’s purview and the Joint Guam Programs Office regarding the military alignment plan to ascertain impacts as well.

Roundtable meetings with these agencies will help bridge gaps in information, and allow us to know of the plans of the administration; and learn firsthand from individual agencies, their assessments of the potential impact, and their action plans – if any.

I encourage all of you to tune in and learn about the level of readiness of our government in response to the federal sequestration. We will all be affected. Saina Ma’ase.