Guam – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has offered four amendments to H.R. 1, the Republican continuing resolution to fund the Federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011.
Her first amendment would have restored $6.7 million to the Assistance to Territories Account administered by the Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs (OIA). The Republican resolution eliminates 7.8% in overall funding for assistance to Guam and the other Territories used to support disaster mitigation, coral reef conservation, infrastructure repairs, and other local needs.
The Congresswoman’s second amendment would have restored $29 million in funding to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Operations, Research, and Facilities account. Republican cuts would severely diminish NOAA’s ability to protect marine ecosystems, manage our nation’s fisheries, and provide weather monitoring data to weather sensitive industries. They would have diminished critical funding for Guam supporting the preservation of Guam’s coral reefs. Over time, these cuts could lead to the degradation of reef ecosystems, impacting our island’s marine tourism and fisheries industries. The Congresswoman’s amendment would restore a portion of funding to NOAA to be used for its Coral Reef Conservation Programs, ensuring that our marine infrastructure is protected and maintained.
Her third amendment would have ensured that at least $24 million was obligated by Federal Aviation Administration on a specific component of the NextGen Air Traffic Control Program that would have benefited the Guam International Airport. House Republicans cut over $400 million from the NextGen system and the amendment would have ensured funding for the program’s ground-based augmentation system, which assists ground controllers in relaying accurate information to pilots and reduces human error through the use of new technologies. The Congresswoman’s amendment would ensure that the NextGen program has resources to carry out its mission and ensures that our airports and airspace remain safe for all travelers.
Congresswoman Bordallo also offered an amendment that would add $5 million to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The funding eliminated by House Republicans is necessary for NIFA to provide grants to colleges and universities throughout the country that support agriculture research. The Congresswoman’s amendment supports the Tropical and Subtropical Research Program (T-STAR), which is vital for sustainable agriculture, pest control, and disease research.
Bordallo’s amendments were subject to points of order against them due to a restrictive amendment process. Debate on amendments to H.R. 1 continues through Thursday, February 17, 2011. House Republican leadership is indicating a final vote on the legislation may occur as late as Saturday morning. The bill will then be transmitted to the Senate for their consideration. The White House has indicated that the House version of H.R. 1 is not acceptable, and House and Senate leadership along with the Office of Management and Budget are seeking to find compromise on this funding package for the current fiscal year.
“My amendments to the Republican budget resolution reverse some irresponsible cuts that have been made to programs important to Guam,” said Congresswoman Bordallo. “Their proposal to reduce the OIA’s budget will hamper the federal government’s ability to offer assistance and support to Guam and the other U.S. territories. These funds enable OIA to administer federal grants for capital improvement projects, operations and maintenance, and technical assistance on our island. Republican cuts to NOAA will reduce our ability to protect our marine ecosystems, which are a vital to our tourism industry and research programs at the University of Guam.
Further their cuts to the NextGen program will have a negative impact on air safety and will impact innovation and investment in our aging air navigation network. Moreover, their cuts to the Agriculture Department would negatively impact the T-STAR program, impeding agriculture and disease research at UOG. I strongly oppose these cuts. I hope that House Republican leadership will eventually work in a more responsible manner with Senate leaders and the Office of Management and Budget to find a more responsible way to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year.”