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Appropriators Act improves Compacts implementation

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - News from Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo

Appropriators Act to Improve Implementation of Compacts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 16, 2011 - Washington, D.C. -

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo announced that the House
passed H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2012, by a
vote of 296 yeas to 121 noes.  The Senate is expected to pass the bill
later tonight or tomorrow to avoid a shutdown of the Federal
government.

This bill creates a new position within the Department of the
Interior's Office of Insular Affairs dedicated to working on
Compact-impact issues.  The bill also directs Interior to work with
the Freely Associated States to develop a comprehensive plan to
mitigate the costs of Compact migration. This plan seeks to better
educate migrants and potential migrants that the primary purpose of
the Compact migration benefit is to provide educational and employment
opportunities to FAS citizens, not for migrants to develop an
over-reliance on public services.  The plan would also seek to improve
FAS capacity to provide dialysis and other medical services to avoid
the need for FAS citizens to seek treatment in Guam or other
jurisdictions.  It would also improve screening procedures to identify
and restrict migration of individuals who have communicable diseases
or who have been convicted of serious crimes.

These provisions were originally recommended to the Department of
Interior in a March 2011 letter led by Senator Daniel Inouye and
Senator Jeff Bingaman. Congresswoman Bordallo cosigned the letter
expressing her support for the renewed focus on Compact-impact issues.

"The Compact provisions contained in this appropriations bill will,
over time, help ease the financial burden placed on the Government of
Guam, and other affected jurisdictions, moving forward," said
Congresswoman Bordallo.  "Chairman Inouye has been a strong supporter
of improving existing law to assist local governments affected by the
Compacts, and I thank him for his leadership in including these
provisions in this year's Consolidated Appropriations Act.  I will
continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and all stakeholders
to ensure that we meet the U.S. obligations under the Compacts while
addressing the burden on our local governments."

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