Guam – Politics and deficits could determine the voice that Guam and the other territories will have in the new congress in January.
Incoming Natural Resources Chair Doc Hastings will be key in deciding if the Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Sub-Committee—that will no longer be chaired by Guam’s Madeleine Bordallo–will continue, change or be absorbed into the full committee, as it was by the GOP in the late 90’s.
GOP consultant to the islands and a former interior official—Fred Radewagen—adds the new majority will also have a limited budget.
Radewagen says “every subcommittee has to be staffed so, it’s a matter of how much they’re going to have and I know that this republican administration is going to want to cut back some.”
And then there’s politics, “unfortunately, I think, in terms of being represented within the republican conference,” said Radewagen, “there are no territorial delegates to be looking after the interests of all of them.”
Radewagen says even if the GOP absorbs the insular function into the full committee, as long as there’s enough staff to do the top job of oversight, the islands may still be ok.
But Radewagen predicts none of this will be known ‘til late January or early February, when full panel chairs are chosen and they start to organize their subcommittees.
Republicans who dissolved any subcommittee jurisdiction for insular issues from ’97 through 2006, will also have to decide if the delegates have a limited floor vote—something the GOP ended in ’94…and Radewagen predicts may be ended, again.