Guam – A top U.S. Senate staffer on the territories calls the chances for final Senate action this year on a defense authorization bill that might include a House-passed Guam war reparations measure, a “long-shot.”
The fate of a Guam War reparations measure remains wrapped up in the fate of a major defense bill that is stuck in the US Senate in the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ fight over gays in the military.
But top Senate Energy staffer on the territories…and former OIA chief, Allen Stayman, is not optimistic. “It appears that this is becoming a major hurdle, and personally, I would think it’s going to be a ‘long-shot’ to get the Defense authorization passed this year, because of objections on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.”
Stayman points out, Republicans have been voting ‘lock-step’ against Democratic proposals in the lame duck session, and led by Arizona’s John McCain against scrapping ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ would probably do the same, again.
Making matters worse for Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s House-passed, Guam War Reparations bill, it’s not even in the Senate DOD measure, yet…though Stayman says Energy Chair Bingaman and Hawaii’s two Senators have urged Armed Services Chair Carl Levin to include it. “We don’t have a final decision from him, but certainly Senator Bingaman and the other senators, would hope the senate committee would recede to the House—that is, would accept the Guam war claims provision.”
Stayman says he just doesn’t see the DOD authorization bill—that could mean some $126-million in possible future appropriations for Guam war claims–“going anywhere” in the lame duck Congress.
He says ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ may well be resolved shortly, but because of action by the courts, not Congress.