Wednesday, October 07, 2009

No War Reparations This Year

News from Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo

Conference Committee Reaches Compromise on War Claims in FY10 National Defense Authorization Act:
Hearings and a Commitment to Readdress War Claims in NDAA FY 2011 Bill Secured

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 7, 2009 – Washington, D.C. –

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that a compromise has been reached on H.R. 44, the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, as part of the final defense authorization bill that was reported out of Conference Committee. Earlier today, leaders from the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee signed off on the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The conference report has been referred to the House Committee on Rules and is expected to be debated and voted on by the full House of Representatives Thursday afternoon. The bill will then be sent over to the Senate for their consideration and a vote on final passage. If approved by the Senate the bill will be sent to the President for his signature.

Over the past month, leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee have been in negotiations to resolve the differences between the House and Senate defense authorization bills. During these negotiations, Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator John McCain, Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, raised serious concerns about keeping war claims in the final defense authorization bill. Their objections focused on two areas: 1) The precedent that might be set for future defense authorization bills if war claims remained in this year’s final defense bill, and 2) The payment of claims for personal injury to spouses and children of survivors who have since passed away after World War II.

Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain offered to keep war claims in the final defense bill if claims were awarded solely to those killed during the war and to living survivors of the occupation. Congresswoman Bordallo rejected this counter proposal. However, a compromise was reached whereby the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings on H.R. 44 and that the issue will be again be addressed in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 if it has not been resolved by other legislative means in the Senate by next year.

“I did not accept the offer from the Senate conferees because it would not recognize all of those who endured Guam’s occupation,” Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo said today. “While I am disappointed that H.R. 44 was not included in the final defense authorization bill, the compromise that was reached allows another opportunity to build on the progress we have made and to bring closure to this issue within a year. I believe that hearings on H.R. 44 would allow the Senate’s concerns to be aired openly, and to have our concerns heard by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. I will continue to build on the support that we have received from the House leadership, the Obama Administration and key committees in the Senate. I believe that our local leaders and our community would use this opportunity to help us make Guam’s case for H.R. 44 and for full inclusion of all those affected by the occupation. We are on a path to closure, and we have additional time to make our case. I hope that the commitments made by the House and Senate conferees to hold hearings and to readdress war claims in next year’s bill will give us the best opportunity to resolve this issue and to finally have closure.”

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Contact: Matthew Mateo in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-1188 or Derek Mandell at 671-477-4272/4.

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