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Congress passes Defense Authorization Act

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 27, 2008) – Rep. Pete A. Tenorio says he is proud to announce that the CNMI is a step closer to being granted eligibility for Department of Defense funds to support the Guam military buildup, a media release stated.

The U.S. House of Representative voted on Thursday evening to approve the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, or H.R. 5658.

"This is a major accomplishment, and I am very thankful to Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo for her assistance in achieving this reality," Tenorio said.

The bill contains two provisions that will aid the CNMI:

It makes the CNMI eligible for fund for military base reuse studies and community planning assistance. Such funds are awarded as grants by the Office of Economic Adjustment, and

It allows funds that will be set aside in the new Guam Defense Policy Review Initiative Account to be used for the development of military facilities or training ranges in the CNMI.

"These are two administrative hurdles that we had to overcome in regard to the relocation of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force out of Okinawa. Without them we simply would not be eligible for these grants," Tenorio said.

The U.S. Senate version of the bill has been approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee and awaits floor action.

T enorio will continue working with Bordallo when the measure is conferenced between the House and the Senate.

"I am very confident that these measures will become law, and will keep Mayor Jose P. San Nicolas and the Tinian delegation on the progress. I know they are anxious to submit grant proposals to utilize these funds. I also want to thank Tinian’s Phil M. Long for bringing this to my attention," Tenorio said.

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