Moylan explains his votes on war claims, FestPac funding bills

Senator James Moylan (file photo)

Senator James Moylan has issued a statement explaining why he voted against the recently passed local war claims bill and the FestPac funding bill.

On Bill 181-35, the local war claims bill, Moylan said he supports the expeditious payment of war claims to the island’s manamko who survived the atrocities of World War II.

However, Moylan said he could not find it in his conscience to support legislation that is a combination of many unanswered questions and a semblance of empty promise.

“The legislation does not provide a clear understanding if funds are even available to pay these claims, and if general funds are going to be used, then what entities or programs will be impacted? There is also the question on the timelines before the survivors receive their compensation, and what mechanisms are in play for adjudication purposes when and if the federal legislation (HR 1365) passes in the Senate and is enacted into law by President Trump. Also, we have to wonder if the Memorandum of Understanding can be achieved, and what discussions have been made between Adelup and the U.S. Treasury,” Moylan said.

On Bill 249-35, which authorizes funding for the travel of 100 Guam delegates to the Festival of Pacific Arts next year in Hawaii, Moyan said that just like every senator in the Legislature, he supports the promotion of programs that perpetuate Guam culture and promote the arts.

However, Moylan said he did not feel that funding a program with taxpayer dollars when there are so many critical needs within the community was more important.

“Many of these issues we face now are being addressed on deaf ears and with eyes completely shut. Since the discussion on whether this FestPac trip should be funded began earlier in the year, I have received many comments and questions on what the priorities of our government are. This trip was not one of mine,” Moylan said.

He added that the FestPac committee has had ample time to fundraise for the 2020 event, and that he is in fact rooting for them to succeed in that process.

“However as a lawmaker, I have to make the responsible and tough decisions when it comes to how taxpayer dollars are spent, and funding a program that is important yet not as critical as other needs is when I have to say no. Further, as we enter a new year, I do hope that as a legislature, our focus shifts to prioritizing more critical issues, as we need to listen to the community and address their concerns,” Moylan said.