A bill provision that may help get funding for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Medicaid patients has been voted down for the second time on the US Congress floor.
A release from CNMI congressman Gregorio Sablan said, “Republicans in the U.S. House today again blocked passage of a Disaster Aid Bill, even though President Trump has said he will sign the measure. The bill, H.R. 2157, makes over $19 billion available to help communities across America recover from natural disasters, including the Northern Mariana Islands,” Sablan said.
He added; “The U.S. Senate passed the bill last Thursday on a strong bipartisan vote of 85 to 8. But on Friday in the House Republicans withheld agreement. A second attempt in the House today also failed, when Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky objected to a unanimous consent agreement.”
After the Senate approved the Disaster Aid Bill last week, the legislation was not able to reach a final vote after a legislator made an objection to hold the vote.
The bill has a provision that would increase Guam’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage from 55 to 100 percent, removing the local match requirement for Guam to pull from ACA funds. Texas representative Chip Roy, performed a procedural objection, citing his concerns about passing a bill that would spread “$19 billion of taxpayer money” without a majority of Congress present.
Roy’s second concern was that the bill would do nothing to contribute to the “emergency and humanitarian crisis we have at our southern border.”
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero continues to share her disappointment but remains optimistic that Congress will pass the measure and indicates that a letter regarding this will be sent to Congressman Michael San Nicolas urging him to seek support on the bill.