Guam – In response to criticism from Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz that she missed an opportunity to attached the Guam war reparations bill to a recently passed piece of Congressional legislation, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo points out that no amendments could have been attached to the bill in question.
The Congresswoman was responding to the Vice-Speaker’s Friday letter to her which questioned why she did not attach the Guam Loyalty Recognition Act to H.R. 4783 which became Public Law 111-291. The measure compensates native Americans and African American farmers for past wrongs.
In his Friday letter to the Congresswoman, Cruz wrote: “I must ask why you were not aware of its movement through the House and Senate … Had you acted more quickly the $185 million needed to fulfill the objectives of the Guam Loyalty [Recognition] Act may have been considered a nominal amendment toward a public law that will ultimately provide a combined $4.55 BILLION to individual Indians and Black farmers.”
In response, Bordallo has written back to Cruz saying the legislation implements “the results of court action forcing the federal government to pay Native Americans for oil and gas rights and Black farmers for civil rights violations. Leadership indicated that it was not going to allow amendments to this legislation.”
The Congresswoman states that: “If a lawsuit on Guam War Claims were successful then legislation similar to H,R. 4783 would have to be introduced to fulfill the federal government’s legal obligation.”
“As a former Chief Justice of the Guam Supreme Court and member of the Guam War Claims Review Commission, you are in the best position to advise the survivors of the occupation as to whether a class action lawsuit is the best course of action to resolve Guam War Claims. “
Bordallo also states that she continues to believe the Defense Authorization Act “is our best legislative vehicle” because it is a “must pass bill and requires Congressional attention each year.” However she says she remains “open to other opportunities and ideas.”
The Congresswoman also offers the Vice Speaker the assistance of her staff “to brief you on the various bills that we sought to attach Guam War Claims to at the end of the 11th Congress.”