GUAM SET TO LOBBY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

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By Steve Limtiaco Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (October 25, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Four Guam senators are in the nation's capital this week, lobbying to get federal economic assistance for the island.

"We're putting out a united front here. We'll be meeting with Congressman (Robert) Underwood as well," said Speaker Tony Unpingco, R-Santa Rita. "We'll be discussing a lot of issues in terms of what he'll be doing in the House, as well as what we'll preach in the same voice over at the White House."

Sens. Vicente "Ben" Pangelinan, D-Barrigada; Eddie Calvo, R-Maite; and Kaleo Moylan, R-Barrigada, are also in Washington with Unpingco.

Underwood told the Pacific Daily News earlier this week that he plans to introduce an amendment to a House economic stimulus bill to bring more direct assistance to Guam and the other territories.

The request is the result of an economic downturn caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Underwood said the stimulus bill consists mainly of tax cuts. Among other changes to the bill, Underwood will ask that Medicaid caps be lifted and that Federal Emergency Management Agency unemployment assistance be extended to Guam.

Senators said they are scheduled to meet with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asian Affairs and the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Base Installations.

They also are scheduled to meet with Rep. James V. Hansen, R-Utah and chairman of the House Resources Committee.

"We're here in a strong bipartisan effort. We have a Senate that is controlled by the Democratic Party, but at the same time we have an administration and a House of Representatives controlled by Republicans. It's important that we show a united front," Calvo said.

"We're going to focus on our economic stimulus packages, the lifting of Medicaid caps, the exemption of the 60-month time limitation of (welfare cash assistance) programs for many of our welfare recipients."

Calvo said the Guam senators also plan to lobby for more compact-impact aid and greater government spending on Guam.

He said they are trying to dispel any notions in Washington that Guam opposes the U.S. military.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

 

CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

 

NEWS RELEASE October 24, 2001

GUAM LEADERS PLAN ECONOMIC RELIEF STRATEGY IN D.C.

Congressman Robert A. Underwood today met with Speaker Tony Unpingco and Senators Ben Pangelinan, Kaleo Moylan and Eddie Calvo, who are in the nation's capital until Saturday, to shore up support for Guam's inclusion in the economic stimulus package making its way through Congress.

The Congressman briefed the Senators on his efforts to attach a Guam-specific proposal to the economic stimulus bill, which would extend unemployment assistance and national emergency grants to Guam and the territories. The proposal would also increase the current territorial matching waiver for federal funding from $200,000 to $500,000, lift the Medicaid caps for the territories and level the playing field for foreign investment in Guam.

"We had a good meeting and thoroughly fleshed out the options for bringing economic relief to Guam," said Congressman Underwood. "Together we are aggressively and vigorously pursuing these objectives."

"From the beginning I have emphasized that we must take a collaborative approach in Washington, D.C. so that there is a unified voice talking about Guam's current situation. We reaffirmed that commitment with Congressman Underwood in our meeting today," said Speaker Unpingco.

"I believe that the main concern that we share with Congressman Underwood is to get as much federal assistance as possible by ensuring that Guam is included, in every possible way, in the economic relief package that is in Congress today. We are encouraged by Congressman's interest in participating in the meetings we have scheduled while in Washington, D.C.," said Senator Moylan.

"I was pleased to see that Congressman Underwood has been working on many of the issues we have identified as vital to our island. As he continues to work through legislation, we will focus on gaining support from the Republican Majority in the House and ensuring that the White House understands the issues that Guam is faced with in these dire economic times," added Senator Pangelinan.

"I am pleased the Senators were able to make this visit and carry Guam's cause to the Capitol. Our collaborative efforts will ensure Guam is heard and considered in this process," the Congressman, adding that he remains optimistic that relief for Guam will be integrated into the package when the bill is taken up by the U.S. Senate.

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: guamtodc@mail.house.gov 

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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