Capitol Hill needs to know about Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Capitol Hill needs to know about Guam

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - With representatives from the White House and Washington officials arriving on Guam this week, you can expect island leaders to not only to discuss the Pagat issue, but also pushing home the message that Guam is "Where America's Day Begins".  Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson with the Senate Appropriations Committee, who pushed hard for the votes that carved out some $320 million out of the proposed 2011 defense budget that would have gone to the Marines' relocation plan, criticized spending money on Guam, which she called "a foreign base".   

Guam Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo on island for the Liberation Day festivities pledges to secure the funding needed for the buildup as well as war reparations.  "That's not a done deal yet, they make their cuts and then we have our bills and then we go into conference and that's when things may change," she said. "I have the war claims out again, it's been passed by the House and each year we take it, it's been passed four times by the House of Representatives and each time numbers are larger."

As for her colleague from the Lone Star State, she says Hutchinson should probably take a visit here.  I think when anybody makes a comment like that they're just not knowledgeable," said Bordallo.  "And that's why it's so important that I bring many members of Congress out here and they're absolutely astounded when they come out and see the progress that we made out here. Many people are under the impression that it's just military bases and that's it, they don't know we're a tourist destination and we made a lot of progress over the years."

Also on Guam for Liberation Day is Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Tony Babauta, who likewise thinks Hutchinson was misinformed.  "I think clearly her staff needs to do a better job at informing the good senator in exactly where Guam is and how important it is for our nation's defense and our strategic location here in the Asia-Pacific Region," he told KUAM News.

Meanwhile, according to Congresswoman Bordallo, the battle for funding isn't over as they'll dialogue will continue in conference committee.

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