Guam - More than a hundred million dollars that otherwise would have come to Guam has been wiped out of a measure currently before the U.S. Senate that would keep the federal government funded through September. The funding was eliminated from the continuing resolution for Fiscal Year 2013 as a result of an amendment proffered by Senator John McCain.
The senator has been on the front lines fighting funding for the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, and today he unleashed his latest arsenal to kill more than $100 million civilian infrastructure projects in Guam. "It's a pair of Guam earmarks that directly contravene the explicit direction provided by the Armed Services Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives," he said.
Senator McCain on the Senate floor said the appropriations for a waste water treatment facility and a public health laboratory on Guam were in direct contravention of provisions in the 2013 national defense authorization that banned funding to be expended for the military buildup until certain requirements were met. "It's appalling its appalling and disgraceful," he said.
He fired off criticisms of appropriators that included the $140 million worth of Guam projects. Guam in the continuing resolution in light of sequestration. He called them "a shameful waste of taxpayers money."
He said, "This is a pork barrel pay off to Guam to solve an already existing problem that has nothing to do with any future military realignment to Guam. This is no better than last year's set of earmarks for a cultural artifices repository."
Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois fired back, saying, "This is not some frill this is a basic."
Durbin said he has been to Guam. And it's a challenge. He urged his colleagues to defeat the McCain amendment strips grants and funding for organizations like the American Red Cross, the USO and the Fisher House on top of funding for Guam. "You wanna believe that when your son and daughter volunteers for the Marine Corps and is stationed somewhere overseas that our government is doing everything we can to make sure they have the basics they need to stay healthy," he said.
Despite Durbins' objections, the McCain amendment passed. Reacting Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says she is appalled that sen. Mccain continues to use funding for Guam projects as an example of pork barrel spending. She added the Arizona senator blurred reality in his statements on the floor and muddled the importance of this investment. Bordallo pointed to an independent assessment that was conducted last year which McCain insisted be conducted. That report highlighted the need and precedence for investing in civilian infrastructure projects in places where significant base realignments are expected to occur. Here at home Governor Eddie Calvo was just as disappointed sayings McCain's actions are against the One Guam approach and four pillars that he signed in a programmatic agreement with the federal government.
The governor said, "It's obvious he considers Guam more a piece of property rather than Americans it's in line with his consistent belief in the exploitation of our people and our property without spending a single penny of money to deal with the issues affecting our community."