Guam – The U.S. House is on its way to passing the Fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA], but Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says the bill still has some ‘rough edges.’
Guam’s Madeleine Bordallo took to the House Floor to both praise and criticize the FY ’14 NDAA which is now headed to House passage on Friday in D.C..
One of her biggest criticisms was over the across the board cuts known as “Sequestration.”
HEAR Matt Kaye’s report HERE>>> 06-14 ndaahsepassage.mp3
Bordallo: “I hope that this Congress undertakes serious efforts to finally fix Sequestration, with a comprehensive solution. We can avoid this problem.”
The problem has already resulted in the scheduled furloughs of some 2-thousand DoD civilian employees on Guam. 11 furlough days have been set, one a week starting on July 8th.
Bordallo: “We are also requiring GAO to look into how the furloughs of civilian employees are being implemented by the Department of Defense, to ensure that they are implemented in a fair and equitable manner, and to understand the impact on mission execution.”
On the plus side, the bill extends for one-year, combat and other pay for forward-deployed civilian personnel. But most importantly for Guam, Bordallo says it puts “real resources” into the re-balancing of U.S. forces to the Asia-Pacific region, including Guam.
Bordallo: “The bill takes a common sense approach and rolls back restrictive language, that hampers the obligation and the expenditure of the Government of Japan funds, which is positive for our bilateral relationship with the Government of Japan.”
The Senate demanded the restriction in the ’13 Defense Bill and threatens to extend it in FY ’14.
The House NDAA has authority to spend $495-million on Guam military construction, including $86-million for a Marine Corps aircraft hangar at North Ramp on Andersen Air Force base to support troop re-aligment from Okinawa.
There’s nearly $120-million in spending authority for civilian infrastructure needs, including improvements at the Northern District and Hagatna wastewater treatment plants, authority the Senate has also opposed.
And the House Bill includes Bordallo amendments to require a DoD report on permanent basing of missile defenses on Guam, like the ‘THAAD’ system and to close loopholes the Military Sealift Command uses to repair ships overseas, instead of at U.S. facilities, like Guam Shipyard here on island.