Speaker calls session for her own war claims bill

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (Guam Legislature photo)
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Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has called the Legislature back into session next week to resume debate on her own war claims bill.

Her call to session was announced just a few hours before Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas announced that his own war claims bill had advanced to the floor of the U.S. Senate.

The Speaker’s Bill 181-35 proposes to use local funds to pay reparations to the more than 700 war survivors whose claims have already been adjudicated by the Justice Department’s Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.  However the source of funding has not yet been identified.

“The call for session was to work on Bill 181. And again I stand by working with the administration and the commitment to the greatest generation that ever lived … there is no time for them and we have held off,” the Speaker said during a news conference at the governor’s office Tuesday.

She added: “We want to pay our World War Two survivors what they rightfully deserve. As each day that passes, we have more and more manamko, our survivors, leaving us.”

When asked where the funding would come from the Speaker handed the microphone to the governor who said “We’re looking at if there is any from Section 30 money … maybe. Any from revenues that we have gotten reimbursed back from the federal government. Those are some of the areas that we’re looking at.”

Congressman San Nicolas told the Pacific News Center today that if the Speaker’s bill comes to the floor next week then he will again be available to answer questions about it and provide an update on his own measure.

The session on Bill 181 is set for next week, Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.