U.S. SENATE ECONOMIC RELIEF PACKAGE

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

NEWS RELEASE November 8, 2001

INCLUDES SOME RELIEF FOR GUAM

Congressman Robert A. Underwood today said the Senate version of the economic relief package, expected to be marked up by the Senate Finance Committee this week, will contain provisions beneficial to Guam and the other territories.

"We've made critical progress on two of the four items that we're working on and we're continuing to try to squeeze in the other items as well, especially some direct assistance for the unemployed," the Congressman said, adding that, of all the competing provisions, at least two sought by Underwood will be included in Committee Chairman Max Baucus' (D-Mt) mark-up.

The first provision includes Guam in the proposal to extend an additional tax rebate. However, unlike the first rebate, which came out of income taxes and was distributed to U.S. taxpayers in July, the second would be drawn from payroll taxes paid directly to the federal government.

"That means that this money would hold harmless any GovGuam revenues and that everyone who pays payroll taxes and files a tax return will get $300, if they're a single filer, $500, if they're head of a household, or $600, if they file jointly," the Congressman said.

"The way we calculate it, this new rebate could put anywhere between $10 and $15 million directly into the Guam economy."

The second provision also holds GovGuam revenues harmless, he said. That provision would assist workers, including those in the territories, who lose their jobs as a result of the September 11 terrorist attack by using Medicaid funds to pay health care premiums so that health care coverage can continue.

"We had to work to make sure that the Medicaid caps for Guam and other territories are held harmless, so that this new program will come from new money," the Congressman said. "We're happy to report that that's in there as well.

"We anticipate some lengthy battles in the Senate, but we remain engaged. Chairman Baucus came to Guam with President Clinton in 1997, and we've had several conversations over the years. We're also continuing to make phone calls and working with all the various staffs and members, and I'm pleased that we've made this much progress," the Congressman said.

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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