Bordallo says the legislation makes “important investments in Guam,” and expects it to pass the Congress in the next couple of days.
Guam – Guam got most, but not all of the civilian and military money, Congress authorized in earlier bills.
Congressional leaders have agreed on bipartisan tax and spending bills to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, including 272 million dollars for military construction on Guam. The money was authorized in the FY ’16 National Defense Authorization Act, DOD’s budget, but still needs to be funding.
But the more than two-thousand page ‘Omnibus’ spending bill– required since the two-parties failed to agree on regular agency spending bills –drops 20 million dollars for civilian water and wastewater improvements on Guam.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, who fought for several years to finally have Senate civilian spending restrictions for Guam lifted in the NDAA, is disappointed. The Congresswoman says in a written statement: “I understand that leaders needed to find savings in the defense portion of the spending bill, however I had urged those savings come from other accounts.”
Still, Bordallo says “does not impact” 106 million appropriated in prior years for water and sewer work, and that money can now be spent, due to the lifting of Senate spending restrictions.
Meantime, the Omnibus spending bill assumes a 100 percent federal share of Puerto Rico’s Medicare inpatient hospital reimbursement rate, as a modest help to the island, now facing bankruptcy. But Guam and the other territories get no new help. Bordallo sought more aid for Medicaid reimbursement rates and Earned Income Tax Credit ‘cover-over.’
Still, Bordallo says the legislation makes “important investments in Guam,” and expects it to pass the Congress in the next couple of days.
The spending bill includes an extra 1.2 million for the Sea Cadet Corps program, funds an added TRITON surveillance drone, keeping the craft on Guam for now, and reverses proposed cuts to Compact-Impact discretionary funds.
Finally, the massive bill blocks the Department of Justice from using any funds to prevent the islands or states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws. Guam this year legalized the drug for medicinal purposes through a public referendum.