For the third time, Republicans at the U.S. House of Representatives have blocked the passage of the Disaster Aid bill.
The bill provides around $ 19 billion in aid for communities that were hit by natural disasters within the last two years.
The bill also has a provision that would increase Guam’s Federal Medical Assistance Percent from 55 to 100 percent, which would relieve GovGuam from matching the remaining ACA subsidy requirements through the end of the fiscal year.
Using parliamentary procedures to prevent agreement to the bill, Republican John Rose of Tennessee was responsible for the third decline last week Thursday. Last Friday, Texas Republican Chip Roy effectively vetoed the bill for the second time.
On Tuesday, it was Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie who denied the bill to prevent a unanimous approval.
CNMI Congressman Gregorio Sablan, said that there were provisions in the bill for Marianas Medicaid, the food stamp program, and funding to rebuild infrastructure after a disaster. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the funds, is sending a team to the islands in June to explain to Commonwealth officials the grant requirements.
Without an expenditure plan from the Commonwealth, government funds will not be released. The Commonwealth will also have to have a system of financial management and procurement policies that meet HUD’s approval, according to a press release.
Democrats are expected to pass the aid package with a recorded vote of all members of the House next week, sending the measure to the President for signature.