Guam – Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo explained how congress was able to pass provisions mandating the sale of Navy waterworks assets and defended the way she played the war reparations bill before lawmakers today during her congressional address.
“Ladies and gentlemen we stand at the crossroads of an important time for our island as the Guam buildup begins in earnest we should look past the horizon to envision what our island could be like ten twenty or many years beyond,” said Bordallo. The Congresswoman also said that a central part of facing the future is dealing with Guam’s political status in the present. “One of the first steps maybe the most important step is to resolve our political status through a legitimate act of self-determination,”said Bordallo.
She then went on to defend herself for two things that have brought her under serious criticism as of late. First was her handling of war reparations. This is something that she has yet to push through congress despite making some major compromises. “Begrudgingly I agreed to eliminate the payments to decedents of survivors who suffered personal injuries during the occupation of Guam, but I didn’t do so until returning to Guam to ask many of our survivors,” explained Bordallo.
Despite this compromise the congresswoman said the measure was shot down by a small group of fiscal conservatives. Fiscal conservatives who now control congress, something Bordallo admits will make it even more difficult to get war reparations passed. Nevertheless, she pledged to try again.
However the topic that has drawn her the most criticism as of late is this year’s defense authorization act. It’s a law that contains in it provisions for the return of Navy water infrastructure at an estimated cost of $300 million dollars. It also requires that the Navy hold a position on the CCU.
“During the legislative process two changes were made that I argued against during committee deliberations they were not in my provision,” explained Bordallo adding, “The defense bill did not go through the regular conference process and we did not have the opportunity to make further changes I apologize if some senators felt that I did not highlight these provisions in my discussions with the legislature and in retrospect we could’ve had a fuller discussion on these issues.”
After explaining the circumstances behind these controversial provisions in the defense authorization act Guam’s Delegate to Congress made her position on the matter of Fena lake clear. “But I would emphasize that i agree with Governor Calvo and Senator Guthertz that Guam ratepayers should not have to pay for the integration and consolidation of the two systems. Offsetting with un-reimbursed compact impact costs is one way to ensure that there is no direct payment from GovGuam to the Navy,” declared Bordallo adding, “I agree with you completely that the Navy should not sit as a voting member on the CCU.”
The congresswoman also pledged to join Guam’s leaders in the fight against these provisions that have been characterized by some senators as colonial mandates. “And governor you stated that to make your point you are willing to walk with Senator Ada, well so am I. I will walk with you and every member of this legislature to Fena to show our unity and to help bring about the end of the final visage of formal naval governance on Guam,” said Bordallo.
Before her speech the Congresswoman was presented with Resolution 48 which asserts the legislature’s opposition to the purchasing of the Fena lake and their opposition to allowing the Navy a seat on the CCU. The Congresswoman said the resolution will help her to fight these provisions in Washington.