Senators Raised Concerns on ARP Fund

The newest mural is located on the walkway of the Guam Congress Building. The street art gives an illusion of the walkway breaking open to reveal the sea life of the Marianas Trench.

Some Senators are raising concerns on why Adelup is not using American Rescue Plan funds for proposed financial relief programs – such as Prugraman Ayuda i Taotao-ta.

PNC’s Don Sulat has the details on this story

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Senator James Moylan said, “We talked about the rules, the final rules, and I’ve read through some of the final rules myself. And the Treasury Department, it doesn’t completely, well it’s fake. And I think the administration also argued for money to be used that’s not necessarily in those categories that you explained. How again were we able to utilize this fund for the hospital?”

During the Emergency Session for Bill 325, held on Wednesday, questions were raised on why Governor Lou Leon Guerrero cannot use ARP monies for financial relief.

The discussion on Bill 325 centered on where the funding source would be coming from. Possibilities include the general fund, or ARP monies.

As previously mentioned, Senator Moylan questioned how the administration can use ARP funds for the Governors Medical Complex, and if it their ability to do so was in the final rules set forth by the US Treasury.

Edward Birn, Director of the Department of Administration, “When we went to treasury, we pointed out that under the existing rules, there was no provisions for a construction of a hospital. And we were told by US treasury
at that time that a number of states and tribal governments had asked why that was omitted. When the final rule came out that was permitted use.”

Not satisfied with Director Birns answer, Senator Moylan compared the ARP use to the CNMI, where they are using ARP funds for financial relief such as local stimulus and power.

Senator Moylan said,  “I believe is associated with the pandemic, and I’ve even read some pages on the report that talk about being taxed as an income if federal funds are used for utility benefits. So the federal government recognizes that the rise in utility cost have been associated in some way with the pandemic.”

According to the code of regulations on eligible uses of ARP funds, it must be an eligible response to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts.

Ultimately, the session took a break until Monday July 25th, in order to get further input, and an opinion from Delegate Michael San Nicolas on the use of ARP funds.

Reporting for the Pacific News Center
I’m Don Sulat

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Born and raised on the island of Saipan, Don moved to Guam in the Spring of 2016 to pursue higher education at the University of Guam. It was at UOG that Don discovered his passion for keeping his peers politically informed. Prior to joining PNC Don gained professional and life experience through a variety of odd jobs ranging from an administrative assistant to a bouncer to a luxury retail salesman. In his free time, you can find him flying his drone or doing landscape and portrait photography. Don joined the PNC News Team not only to broaden his writing skill but also to challenge himself to get in front of the camera, ultimately furthering his passion to promote an informed and politically engaged Mariånas. Don's beat is Court, Crime, and Regional and is also PNC's Lead Reporter.