Guam – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s office says “it appears” that the senate appropriations committee overnight cut about $155 million dollars in funds directly related to the Guam Military buildup for fiscal year 2012. Local leaders says they are hopeful that the house and senate’s reconciled version of the bill puts at least some of that money back in.
Although the full details have not been released by the U.S. Senate’s appropriations committee today the full committee voted in favor of mark-ups that significantly cut military construction spending for Guam. According to Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo’s spokesman Adam Carbullido some of the $155 million in cuts are related to the north ramp utilities and Finegayan water utilities, as well as cuts in funding for the incrementally funded air force fuel systems maintenance hangar. In a statement, Congresswoman Bordallo says she is “concerned and disappointed with the senate appropriations committee’s cuts in funding for the Guam military buildup.”
She says that it “sends the wrong signal to our Japanese allies and is contradictory to commitments made by Secretary Clinton and Secretary gates during last week’s “2+2” meetings.”
However the congresswoman, Senator Judi Guthertz and Governor Eddie Calvo all point out that the bill still must be considered by the full senate and reconciled with the house’s version later this year before any of those cuts are final. “Of course those particular senators are very influential with their colleagues but this whole matter must go to the conference committee with representatives of the house and of course Congresswoman Bordallo will be at that conference meeting between the house and the senate representatives and hopefully they’ll argue it up and through and things will turn out positive for Guam,” said Senator Guthertz. Meanwhile Governor Calvo told PNC, “We’re hopeful that in reconciliation between the house and senate that those appropriations specific to social / economic (needs) will be kept in tact.”
Senator Guthertz also points out that the rationale for these cuts are related to the fiscally conservative climate in Washington D.C. “They have a budget crunch in the states and the senate wants to make some points with their own constituents and this is one way they can do it and it’s just unfortunate that we do not have elected senators in the U.S. Senate,” said Guthertz.
Instead Guam must rely on the lobbying efforts of it’s congresswoman who can’t vote and it’s governor. In fact Governor Calvo will leave to Washington D.C. later this month to meet with DOD and other federal officials. “We are going to be presenting letters and correspondences to both the house armed services the Senate armed services as well both appropriations committees of both the house and senate in regards for the need to keep within and intact in those appropriations, measures that deal with the social and economic impacts to the island of Guam.” said Calvo.
Congresswoman Bordallo expects to be appointed to the joint conference committee that will be responsible for hammering out the final version of the spending bill.