Blas: Guam must have louder voice in Congress
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 04:48
by Zita Y. Taitano| Variety News Staff
SENATOR Frank Blas Jr. yesterday gave members of the Rotary Club of Northern Guam an update on his efforts to seek federal attention to local issues including his call for Congress to grant Guam voting rights on issues dealing with the military buildup.
“We took it a step further by introducing Resolution 30-160 that formally requests Congress to also look into providing Guam, our representative in Washington D.C., the opportunity to vote and fully participate in matters that affect Guam and the military buildup on Guam. That’s what we were asking for. Just on those matters,” Blas said.
Blas said his proposed resolution was prompted by Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s amendments to the 2010 defense budget bill which seeks to increase local wages for military buildup-related jobs to prevailing rates in his home state of Hawaii.
Blas found it disturbing that Guam didn’t have a say in this as well as other decisions that are being discussed in Washington D.C. that affect the island directly.
It prompted him to write letter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi provide Guam’s delegate the opportunity to participate more in discussions concerning the island.
Blas also discussed the $400 million Compact Impact reimbursement that he has been demanding from the federal government.
“This is a cost that is associated for providing health care, education, public safety and social services programs to these individuals,” Blas said adding that Guam is set to receive about $16 million next year in compact impact funds. The senator further noted that this figure is short of the $30 million impact costs to GovGuam.
Blas cited a comparable situation in Hawaii and the Aloha state’s attempt to reduce and restrict the amount of healthcare services for migrants from the Micronesian region. The case is currently in federal court and is scheduled for a hearing next month.