VIDEO: Washington Report- Federal Budget Picture “Grim” for Territories

215

Guam – The U.S. Government is ‘broke’ and Guam, the CNMI and other island jurisdictions should not look to uncle sam for help, with the exception of the military build-up on Guam. For the foreseeable future, according to insular experts.

The Congressional Budget Office last week projected a federal deficit this fiscal year of a record, $1.5 trillion dollars. 

GOP consultant for the islands and former Interior official, Fred Radewagen told PNC News “the CBO numbers make the territories’ situation all that more precarious, when they come in next month, the Governors, to see what kind of federal assistance they can get.”

In a phrase, Radewagen sums it up this way: “In 40-years, I’ve never seen the fiscal situation in Washington this grim.

At the Senate Energy Committee, top Insular staffer and Democrat Allan Stayman, said: “on the basis of where the federal government is, and where our deficit is, this is probably the worst we have ever faced.”

Stayman says that means the opportunity for the islands and states to get funding out of congress is “as low as it has ever been.”

 “I would guess that what we’re going to see, as a consequence, of republican control of the House, and increased republican membership in the Senate, is that there likely will not be single appropriations bills that the government, at least for the next few years. I would not be surprised we’ll end up on a continuing resolution.” With federal spending “flat…or even decreasing” the stated goal Stayman says, of the GOP.

But President Obama vowed in his state of the union speech to veto any bills with “earmarks” or member pet projects.

And Radewagen says it gets worse: “the House Majority Leader has said there will be no bills that allow states to file for bankruptcy, nor will the Federal Government bail out the States. The question is, how do you define state? If  ‘territory’  is in the definition of state, we’re in real trouble on the islands.”

But Stayman says most of the declarations against funding increases have excluded defense,  leaving a path for Guam—and even the CNMI—to seek continued help to support the military build-up.