US Budget Deal Includes $481.5 Million For Guam: Bordallo

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Delegate says bill clearly supports military construction projects

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan .17, 2014) – About $481.5 million for military construction projects on Guam is included in the omnibus budget agreement reached by the U.S. Congress and Senate.

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo announced that the budget agreement maintains the significant funding in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014.

Bordallo said the agreement is good for the island.

"The bill builds on the progress we made in the Defense authorization bill and provides clear direction to the Department of Defense to move forward with military construction projects on Guam. It further affirms our commitment to the overall rebalance strategy to the Asia-Pacific region," Bordallo said.

She said she appreciates the strong funding through the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, but was concerned that the bill cuts $3 million from the Office of Insular Affair's technical assistance account.

The bill, H.R. 3547, passed the House by of vote of 359 yeas to 67 nos. It will now be considered by the U.S. Senate, according to a release from her office.

The $481.5 million includes:

The bill also provides the Department of Defense with authority for civilian infrastructure projects through the Office of Economic Adjustment, the release states.

Bordallo noted the technical assistance grants provide much needed assistance to Guam and the territories for a variety of projects, including in areas of public health, safety and education, she said.

'Fiscal stability'

"While the budget agreement is not perfect, it provides fiscal stability to federal agencies, and it avoids another government shutdown. I look forward to the Senate passing this bill so we can fund our government for the remainder of fiscal year 2014," Bordallo said.

Other local leaders lauded the omnibus.

"We congratulate Congresswoman Bordallo for securing these commitments despite the federal government's financial constraints," noted Gov. Eddie Calvo. "She remains a guardian of Guam's interests in our nation's Capitol. The administration will continue to support our congresswoman and work with her in bringing Guam's needs to the highest levels of government."

Sen. Frank Aguon, Jr., D-Yona, and chairman of the Legislature's buildup committee, said the passage of the bill is great news for the planning of the Guam buildup.

"It shows the commitment of our nation's leaders to provide funding for much needed improvements for our infrastructure, which is vital in ensuring that our island is well-prepared and can sustain the vast changes ahead of us," he said.

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