Guam – Governor Lou Leon Guerrero spoke before members of the Rotary Club of Guam to provide updates on various issues, including the Disaster Aid Bill. According to the governor, the House will be taking action on the legislation soon.
After the US Senate gave its thumbs up to the Disaster Aid Bill last week, the legislation still failed to get a final vote at the House.
The Disaster Relief Bill provides assistance to states and territories recently affected by hurricanes, wildfires, and other devastating disasters. The bill has a provision that would increase Guam’s Federal Medical Assistance Percent or FMAP from 55 to 100 percent.
Around $268 million in ACA funds was appropriated for Guam in 2011 but the funding requires a 45 percent local match. In prior years, GovGuam struggled to come up with the local match.
The provision in the Senate’s Disaster Aid Bill would have provided relief to GovGuam by matching the remaining subsidy from the ACA but within a limited timeframe of January 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019.
“It was passed in the Senate. It went down to the House and the House did not pass it because they did not agree in unanimous consent. They are saying in June they will pass it because it is a bill that is important to all the U.S. territories, not just the U.S. territories but also the other states that have major disasters,” Leon Guerrero said.
In an earlier statement, the Governor said she is disappointed that the Disaster Aid Bill has stalled in the House. However, she remains optimistic that Congress will pass the measure.