Speaker backs San Nicolas bill

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes

With only two days left Guam time before the markup hearing for H.R. 1365, Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes has expressed support for Congressman Michael San Nicolas’ war claims bill.

In a letter to the congressman, the Speaker reiterated the support of the Guam Legislature’s Democratic majority for San Nicolas’ H.R. 1365.

Only two weeks ago, the Speaker was with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero in a press conference announcing local funding for war claims and finding an administrative solution to authorizing the U.S. Department of the Treasury to begin issuing war claim payments.

But in her letter, the Speaker pointed out that she issued a resolution along with Senators Amanda L. Shelton and Regine Biscoe-Lee way back Feb. 13, 2019, expressing the Legislature’s support for the payment of war claims and San Nicolas’ H.R. 1141, which also sought to make technical corrections to the Guam World War II Claims Fund.

The Speaker stressed that she is not abandoning the local funding option she and the governor proposed, adding that she has already presented her draft legislation to stakeholders to formally lay out her strategy to pay Guam war claims.

In addition to San Nicolas, the Speaker also wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representative Raul Grivalja who is the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, as well as the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Steny Hoyer, urging them all to support Guam’s war claims legislation in Congress.

“Whatever it takes to do right by our survivors – I commit to you that I won’t stop or give up,” the Speaker said in a statement sent to the media. “Our Delegate was elected by our people to serve our island. I am confident in his ability to do good for our people of Guam and I welcome his support.”