Thursday, February 11, 2010

War claims bill faces delay tactic in Congress

War claims bill faces delay tactic in Congress

Friday, 05 February 2010 00:53
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff

U.S. SENATOR Carl Levin believes that the Guam war claims provision should not be included in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act and should instead be sent back to the Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy, according to a reliable source.

However, the provision had already cleared Leahy’s committee and sending it back is a stall tactic, said the source.

“Senator Levin told Bordallo that the war claims provision is probably best handled by the Judiciary and not the NDAA,” stated the source.

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo could not be reached for comment.

In her October 2009 statement on the war claims issue, Bordallo stated that if H.R. 44 or the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act was not included in the 2010 defense spending bill, then it would be included in the 2011 proposal.

Senator Frank Blas Jr. wasn’t happy with Levin’s comment.

“Levin made a promise that the provision would be included in the 2011 budget and now is reneging on his promise. I’m at a loss for words with regards to again the federal government in not addressing the war claims issue,” said Blas.

In December last year, Blas and other lawmakers met with the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss among other issues, the inclusion of the war claims provision in the defense authorization bill.

“There was never a discussion on moving that bill to the Judiciary,” said Blas.

“A lot of people who know politics know that when you send it to Judiciary, it’s lost. The provision had already passed muster with the Judiciary, according to the information provided by the congresswoman’s office,” he added.

Blas said that President Obama’s statement that he was going to implement a spending freeze over the next three to four years and take money out of the defense budget to put elsewhere, “doesn’t sit well with me.”

Blas also said that at the meeting in Washing D.C., the armed forces committee stated that all the body needed was a written letter of support signed by President Obama.

“The Senate committee was clear that they wanted a letter from the president himself. If the president is committed to making sure that the military buildup and what’s going to be happening on Guam in the next few years is beneficial not only for the military but also for the people of Guam, I think this is one of those issues which he can address,” Blas said.

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