With just a few hours before the mark-up hearing for H.R. 1365 in Washington D.C., Congressman Michael San Nicolas has released a letter from U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael DiRoma stating that H.R. 1365 “as currently drafted” would make “amounts in the Claims Fund available for disbursement to Guam World War II victims and survivors.”
San Nicolas said this letter “disproves” the administration’s position on HR. 1365 and the progress of war claims legislation in Congress.
Last week, Guam’s former delegate to Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, said H.R 1365 will most likely not pass its upcoming mark-up hearing. Bordallo, in an interview with the Patti Arroyo show at K57, said she has talked with the House natural resources committee chairman about the legislation and according to Bordallo, the chairman confided to her that the San Nicolas bill will likely not survive its mark-up hearing.
“The Leon Guerrero – Tenorio Administration, through its Washington Liason Madeleine Bordallo, has insisted that HR 1365 ‘had many flaws’ and ‘needed to be amended.’ It is unfortunate that we have to repeatedly go back and repair damage to the progress of HR 1365 by the Administration via the Washington Liason,” San Nicolas said in a statement.
He added: “There is a serious injury to the people of Guam when federal agencies and Congressional Committees have to correct false statements on federal issues by local leaders. I do not understand why the administration via its Washington Liason insists on working against HR 1365 when they repeatedly say they support it; nonetheless, my office will continue to do what is right for the people of Guam.”
Former Guam Delegate Robert Underwood also shared his thoughts about the ongoing exchange over the war claims bill and over statements made by San Nicolas about the elected members of Congress driving the federal agenda for their respective districts.
“What Congressman San Nicolas is doing is he is trying to carve out and define his role in that statement as if he was the only one that can carve out a role for Guam here in Washington DC. That is not entirely accurate. He needs everybody. It’s just that the governor and the speaker and the legislature and all the people of Guam are not just a cast of supporting characters for Delegate San Nicolas’s bills, they are the basis upon which he is supposed to be constantly interacting,” Underwood said.
Vice Speaker letter
Meanwhile, Sen. Telena Nelson, the Vice Speaker of the 35th Guam Legislature, has asked Adelup and San Nicolas to stop feuding on Guam’s war claims.
“Though your offices may not answer to each other, we all answer to the people of Guam. For the sake of our war survivors, we plead to you both to work together for sound solutions based on the values of our CHamoru culture, especially inafa’maolek, which calls for collaboration and reciprocation in the overall goal of harmony,” Nelson said in a statement.
She added: “The people of Guam and our war survivors deserve nothing less and are watching as we try to close the chapter on this nearly 75-year-old story. Please, let us come together and continue to search for the crossroads that will lead our people to the rightful compensation they deserve before it is too late.”