Guam Civillian Infrastructure in Limbo

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Spending disputes between Republicans and Democrats are likely to hold up final decisions on Pentagon funding until November or December.

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s office says the armed services committees will probably wait and see what happens with spending bills that are needed to get the government into the new fiscal year. Those numbers will help determine funding levels in the National Defense Authorization Act for the Defense Department. 

Bordallo is a House negotiator on the House-Senate conference, working out differences between the two versions of NDAA; the House version that includes $20-million for Guam civilian infrastructure and the Senate’s–which continues restrictions on non-military build-up spending.But in the wake of the Navy’s recent signing of the Record of Decision for the build-up, Congress is still at loggerheads over spending issues—especially across-the-board cuts or sequestration, begun in 2011.

Most Hill Democrats and some Republicans want sequestration ended—especially due to its impact on military readiness. Bordallo is the ranking Democrat on the House Readiness subcommittee. NDAA fights in recent years have stretched into December, though Congress has kept its unbroken record of passing the defense bills for some 53-years in a row.But the current uncertainty does not help Guam even given the fact that US and Government of Japan funds are now available for military construction. Both FY ’16 NDAAs include over 272-million for MILCON projects.

But the two parties are struggling to find a way to end ‘sequestration’ –at least for the Pentagon—and President Obama has threatened to veto any bills that continue sequestration—especially with the government now projecting higher tax revenues and lower deficits this fiscal year and next.