Moment of truth for Guam: HR 1365 passes mark-up

H.R. 1365 was passed unanimously and without any amendments by the House natural resources committee.

It took only about five minutes for Congressman Michael San Nicolas’ H.R. 1365 to pass mark-up and be favorably reported for full House discussion.

H.R. 1365 seeks to make technical corrections to the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act so that funds can finally be disbursed for Guam war claims.

The bill’s mark-up hearing was presided over by Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the Democratic chairman of the House committee on natural resources.

H.R. 1365 was passed unanimously, with no objections, and without any amendments.

Rep. Robert William Bishop of Utah, the Republican ranking member of the House natural resources committee, enthusiastically supported San Nicolas’ bill.

“I’d like to say very briefly that I approve of what you have done and of what your predecessor has done. This is important work for Guam and I fully support this bill,” Bishop said.

The scheduled 10 a.m. mark-up hearing started a little late at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday, Washington time (12:10 a.m. Thursday, Guam time).

But H.R. 1365 was tackled quickly as the second bill on the table although it was originally placed seventh in a total of 11 bills up for discussion.

Because H.R. 1365 had unanimous consent, San Nicolas was given more time on the floor to discuss his bill.

San Nicolas began by thanking his predecessors for their work “that laid much groundwork through the years to bring us to this inflection point today.”

Describing H.R. 1365 as a very “time-sensitive” bill, San Nicolas also thanked his colleagues in the committee for bringing the bill to mark-up.

He singled out Speaker Tina Muna Barnes for her support and the four letters the Speaker wrote endorsing the passage of H.R. 1365.

In addition to San Nicolas, Speaker Barnes wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representative Grivalja, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, urging them all to support Guam’s war claims legislation in Congress. These four letters were entered into the congressional record.

The congressman also entered into the record the letters of support from the Republican Party of Guam and the Republican National Committee, both of whom San Nicolas praised for their display of bi-partisanship.

San Nicolas also entered into the record Resolution 36-35 from the 35th Guam Legislature which endorsed the passage of H.R. 1365.

According to the congressman, the language contained in H.R. 1365 was drafted in consultation with the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Department of Interior.

As such, San Nicolas also entered into the record a letter from U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael DiRoma stating that H.R. 1365 “as currently drafted” would make “amounts in the Claims Fund available for disbursement to Guam World War II victims and survivors.”

Finally, San Nicolas thanked the senior citizens of Guam, who H.R. 1365 aims to help, for their courage and sacrifice that has earned them the title ‘The Greatest Generation’ on Guam.

San Nicolas also said he is thankful “that the people literally on the edge of the United States has never been forgotten by the greatest nation on earth.”

San Nicolas statement

After the passage of H.R. 1365’s mark-up, San Nicolas issued a statement pointing out that H.R. 1365 cleared the mark-up hearing unanimously, without any objections and with no amendments.

“Of all the bills on the agenda, H.R. 1365 was the only one that passed unanimously by voice vote, clearing the committee without the need for a subsequent recorded vote,” the congressman said.

San Nicolas also pointed out that ranking Republican committee member Rob Bishop recognized the legacy work on the Guam war claims issue and further stated his support on the record for H.R. 1365.

“In my testimony, we thank our Lord, local leadership, our predecessors, our Greatest Generation, the Republican Party of Guam, and others for their support. I am further deeply grateful for Ranking Member Bishop’s statement of support on the record,” San Nicolas said.

He added: “Now we work to bring H.R. 1365 to the floor of the full House. The outcome of this hearing is indicative of strong momentum for a positive outcome.”