GUAM Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo, vice chair of the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), met with President
President Barack Obama meets with members of the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Contributed photo
Barack Obama at the White House last week to discuss issues important to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Federal-territorial issues were discussed with the President. Bordallo thanked Obama for his past support of Guam war claims and asked for his continued help to help pass the bill in Congress. The Obama administration continues to support Bordallo’s efforts to resolve Guam war claims. The Departments of Defense and the Interior have testified before Congress about their continued support.
However, the climate in Washington to grapple with a record high deficit and the recent talks to cut more than what is being proposed has Guam leaders questioning whether Bordallo can push forward with war reparations at this time.
“Let’s be realistic. It’s rather difficult to even try to bring it up in Congress, given what’s being discussed with regards to cuts. I haven’t given up hope, but at this point, I believe it’s something that Congress isn’t ready to deal with yet,” said Speaker Judi Won Pat.
Won Pat said she and her colleagues are certain of federal cuts which will affect Guam; cuts which Guam must be ready to handle.
“We are literally waiting to see what decisions are made in Washington regarding Guam, because whatever those decisions may be, we have to plan appropriately,” said Won Pat.
During her meetings, Bordallo also spoke about the need to extend parole authority to Guam for Chinese and Russian visitors. The White House committed to ensuring a continued dialogue with the Department of Homeland Security on the status of extending parole authority to Guam.
The delegate expressed her appreciation for these efforts and conveyed her hope that the White House will continue to provide policy direction on the importance of this initiative to DHS.
The meeting also focused on the need for tax considerations for the territories when the Obama administration is developing national economic policy.
Bordallo and the delegates recently sent a letter to Obama, requesting that he include cover over provisions for the territories in his American Jobs Act. Bordallo thanked the President for listening to the delegates’ concerns and for including cover over provisions in his bill.
“President Obama showed that he is sensitive to the needs of Guam and all Pacific Islanders,” said Bordallo.
“I made the point that our visitor industry will grow with the inclusion of Chinese and Russian visitors. I also told him that Guam’s goals are similar to those expressed by Vice President (Joe) Biden last month in China to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit the United States. I thanked the President for including cover over provisions in the American Jobs Act and for his concern for the economies of the territories.”
Bordallo also shared with Obama: “We were disappointed that he had to cancel his scheduled visits to Guam last year and that our invitation still stands and our welcome mat is always out.”