San Nicolas blocks amendment to kill Guam tourism

Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas (PNC file photo)

Congressman Michael San Nicolas has blocked a move in Congress to take out funding for Guam’s visa waiver program.

As part of the appropriations bill for Homeland Security being considered by the House of Representatives, San Nicolas said Congressman Tiffany of Wisconsin attempted to move an amendment to defund visa waivers for Guam and the CNMI.

“The Tiffany Amendment would have cut off funding for the Guam and CNMI Visa Waiver Programs, effectively cutting off our tourism markets,” San Nicolas said in a news release.

“Without the funding, visitors especially from our Korea, Japan, and Taiwan markets would have had much greater difficulty traveling to Guam, reducing our visitor volumes indefinitely. Recovery would have been impossible,” San Nicolas added.

In order for the amendment to be considered, it needed to clear the Committee on Rules, where San Nicolas said he successfully objected and killed the amendment.

“We made a clear case that funding the visa waivers for Guam and the CNMI was non-negotiable, as they are a critical lifeline to maintaining our primary industry in our economy, and equally critical to our recovery from the economic damage of COVID-19,” San Nicolas said.

He added: “I would like to thank our colleagues for recognizing the serious consequences of the amendment, and for their support to protect the ability for Guam’s economy to recover. We continue the work in the Congress to ensure that not only is Guam included in positive federal policy, but also protected from detrimental actions that would harm our community.”