Congressman Michael San Nicolas said he will “stay the course” on H.R. 1365 to ensure that all war claims are paid when the current funding is released and more becomes available.
After Adelup announced a scheme to pay war claims with local appropriations, San Nicolas said his office immediately reached out to federal agencies to confirm whether or not those plans were in line with the existing process.
“Relevant agencies informed us they are unaware of the details of Adelup’s plans, and that the existing process does not accommodate reimbursing local funds with claims funds. They further informed us that we need to stay on our current course in the Congress if we want to make sure no one with an approved claim is left out. Adelup’s plan would only pay 600 claimants, and we have 3,663 — over 5 times more claimants than Adelup is able to pay with the $6 million to $7 million they say is available,” the congressman said in a statement
He added that his office will not do anything to structurally change the current process, as that will put the entire structure at risk of restarting and causing everyone to lose out.
“If Adelup wants to pay war claims on their own we defer that decision to them; however we will not deviate our present course, and if that means claimants get two checks – one from Adelup and one from the U.S. Treasury – that is up to Adelup,” the congressman said.
San Nicolas also pointed out that one week after their announcement, no bill has been introduced by Adelup or the Legislature and there is nothing in writing regarding Adelup’s plans from the Department of the Interior, the Treasury, or the Claims Commission, and no clarity on what is actually being proposed by Adelup.
“The people are left only with anxiety and uncertainty. Adelup should review their decision in the interest of everyone, work with my office to see the existing process through, and understand that creating anxiety and uncertainty for our manamko’ and for the entire process is not good for anyone. We will achieve so much more federally if we work together and pursue the best outcome for all of our people. Staying focused is key. We look forward to the NRC markup hearing in the Congress for HR 1365 on June 19th as originally planned, and my office will provide updates and outlooks at such time,” San Nicolas said.
Meanwhile, Guam’s Democratic congressman also said the Republican Party of Guam continues to work with his office in a bi-partisan fashion to secure the passage of HR 1365 to get war claims paid.
“Today they have transmitted letters to the Ranking Republican Member of the Natural Resources Committee Congressman Bishop, and the Republican Minority Leader Congressman McCarthy, endorsing the passage of HR 1365,” San Nicolas said.
He added that the support of the Republican Party of Guam for HR 1365 is a tremendous help in securing its passage, and is an example of how working together “is the best course for us to take to secure war claims payments to our people.”
The congressman said he will be entering these letters of support into the official record of the committee during the markup hearing of HR 1365, and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the measure.
“We are engaging all avenues to secure passage of this measure for our people, and find so much inspiration in this support that showcases how politics must come second to the interests of the people of Guam. My deepest gratitude to RNC-Guam Chairman Jerry Crisostomo and the Officers of the RNC-Guam for their full support,” San Nicolas said.