Speaker: Additional input needed for Bill 181

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (PNC file photo)

A motion was made late Wednesday afternoon to rise out of the Committee of the Whole to continue discussions with stakeholders on Bill 181-35 which would compensate the survivors of World War II.

According to a release from Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes, this was done because the body, “in light of conflicting and unfounded statements by Congressman San Nicolas,” felt that additional input is needed.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Speaker Muña Barnes met with Governor Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Tenorio who said that once Bill 181-35 is passed and signed into law, the Leon Guerrero/Tenorio administration intends to pay off the adjudicated claims before the end of the year.

According to the Speaker, during discussions in the Committee of the Whole, Tony Babauta, the Chief of Staff of the Leon Guerrero/Tenorio administration, presented documents “demonstrating the months of hard work by our local Government” to finally pay off the adjudicated claims of the local World War II survivors.

“36 years later, 11 failed bills later, we need to finally put an end to this injustice. If it is in our power to do right by our elders, we owe it to them” stated Speaker Muña Barnes. “I thank the Leon Guerrero/Tenorio Administration for taking on this challenge with me. It is unfortunate that we will have to wait a little bit longer, but I will be working closely with the Leon Guerrero/Tenorio Administration to answer any questions my colleagues may have and hope that this Bill passes – so that we can finally give our greatest generation the closure they deserve while they are still with us” she concluded.

Responding to the claims of Congressman Michael San Nicolas that should this bill pass it may hamper the passage of H.R. 1365 in the Senate, Speaker Muña Barnes asked the delegate if there was anything to support this claim and if there was any member of the U.S. Senate that he spoke to about this matter.

According to the Speaker, San Nicolas failed to provide anything concrete which would support his statements.

Unless the congressman makes “demonstrable progress,” Speaker Muña Barnes said she intends to forge ahead with Bill 181-35 upon the passage of the budget bill.