Guam GOP senators ask feds to help expedite war claims to pay tax refunds

Republican Minority Leader Telo Taitague and Senators Louise Muna, James Moylan, and William Castro are shocked to learn that Speaker Tina Barnes cancelled the emergency session scheduled for today, March 31, 2020. This is the second time the speaker cancelled an emergency session.

Minority Leader Telo Taitague, Assistant Minority Leader Louise Muña, Minority Whip James Moylan and Senator Wil Castro sent a letter requesting the White House and the U.S. Department of the Interior to help expedite federal reimbursement for War Claims that were paid in advance using local funds.

The GOP senators have asked Mr. Douglas Domenech, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and Mr. Douglas Hoelscher, Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, for their assistance in urging the U.S. Department of the Treasury to release funds owed to the Government of Guam – so that additional tax refunds may be issued to help families struggling to pay for food, medicine, rent, vehicle and other personal loans in the face of COVID-19.

Senators Taitague, Muña, Moylan, and Castro provide the following statement on their letter to federal authorities:

“The reimbursement of more than $10 million from the Federal Government will go a long way in helping to address the immediate needs of the Government of Guam. We continue to push the Governor and Guam Legislature to provide much needed financial relief to families, and remain hopeful that a portion if not all of the War Claims reimbursement will be used to pay for outstanding tax refunds. Our families are counting on leaders to get tax refunds into their hands as quickly as any process can provide – and we are confident that the White House and the U.S. DOI can help in this process by getting the U.S. Treasury to reimburse Guam ASAP.”

The letter to members of the Trump Administration regarding federal reimbursement recognizes the important partnerships that have been established between Guam GOP senators and officials in Washington D.C. Senators Taitague, Muña, and Castro, together with former Senator Tony Ada, Mr. Juan Carlos Benitez, and Ms. Margaret Metcalf participated in meetings last Fall with the Trump Administration and Congress on issues critical to Guam including H.R. 1365, Veterans services, Medicaid funding, and the Guam Buildup. GOP senators remain in close contact with federal officials, most recently concerning the President’s approval of H.R. 1365.

Assistant Secretary of the Interior Domenech oversees federal-territorial matters involving American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Director Hoelscher manages a division within the White House responsible for building relationships with state, county, local, and tribal officials.