By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) What Congressman Michael San Nicolas warned Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Speaker Tina Muna Barnes would happen if they push through the local war claims effort - Bill No. 181 - HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
In the months since Ms. Muna Barnes's asinine effort to pass a local war claims appropriation, Mr. San Nicolas had pleaded with the Legislature and the governor to not pass it because its passage would jeopardize the chances of the federal war claims bill - House Resolution 1365 - from passing through Congress. Mr. San Nicolas told Ms. Muna Barnes and Ms. Leon Guerrero REPEATEDLY that if Congress finds out about a local war claims effort in anticipation of a federal reimbursement, Senate leaders would object to the federal measure passing.
Ms. Muna Barnes's local war claims catastrophe only would fund a fraction of the war claims claimants and would use money siphoned from people owed tax refunds. Mr. San Nicolas's federal version would pay all the adjudicated claims and use Section 30 money already set aside for the effort.
Last month, Congressman San Nicolas broke the news that his measure had passed a major hurdle and was set to be approved unanimously by the Senate this month, barring any objections that could be raised if red flags are found.
On that same day, Mr. Muna Barnes decided to inform senators that she would be pushing her bill through for a vote.
The bill was rammed through the Legislature in defiance of legislative procedures and the objections of her colleagues and the congressman.
Ms. Leon Guerrero signed the measure into law despite the Congressman's objections. He warned her again that this could raise an objection on his federal war claims bill.
And today, that has actually happened. Here is the release from Mr. San Nicolas:
"Less than a week after passing the local war claims bill, previous unanimous support in the Senate for HR 1365 is now at risk.
"'I have received word that there is now a concern with HR 1365,' opened Congressman San Nicolas. 'I am on a flight today back to DC to try to salvage this; in the meantime, the Legislature and the Governor need to immediately reconsider their actions for the sake of the very people we are trying to help,' Congressman San Nicolas concludes."