Fresh off his runoff victory, re-elected Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas, in an interview with K57’s Tony Lamorena, shared his priorities for Guam in the US House of Representatives.
With the island still facing the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Michael San Nicolas says Guam can look forward to momentum building up behind the existing stimulus packages that have passed the House.
“The Heroes Act that included another round of stimulus payments, more unemployment support going all the way to the end of January, back pay on the federal pandemic unemployment compensation going back to July 31st when that stopped being paid out … We are looking at more PPP on the table even for businesses that got it the first time, a second round of that,” San Nicolas said.
San Nicolas shares that the same items that were on the table for those relief packages have not changed. He noted that the outcome of the federal election will bring a great likelihood of forward movement on the federal relief side.
Locally, San Nicolas says he will continue to engage the local government as he has in his first term as Congressman.
“Identifying opportunities and plainly presenting them to our local leaders very transparently so the public can be aware of what is out there and what potential opportunities could emerge if certain programs and certain policies are seized and implemented,” San Nicolas said.
San Nicolas mentioned a local unemployment program and COVID vaccines as being important for the island. Stating that getting vaccines rolled out as quickly as possible is a major factor in having a return to normalcy.
“That being said, I am optimistic that a combination of additional federal relief that we have been working towards and we are more likely to secure in the weeks and months ahead, I think that is going to be a very strong step forward for us,” the congressman said.
As for the expiring Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that expires next month, San Nicolas said: “We do have a strategy for that and it has to do with how we got PUA for Guam in the first place. The way we did it was we made sure that we tied to the language that was extending the same type of unemployment compensation to independent contractors in the states,” San Nicolas said.
He added that the Heroes Act that’s in place has language in place to provide PUA back pay to the end of July which will provide a big lump sum payment to the currently unemployed.