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Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo

Representing the People of Guam

HASC Passes FY19 National Defense Authorization Act

May 10, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has favorably reported out H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The NDAA authorizes $639.1 billion for national defense programs, with an additional $69 billion for overseas contingency operations. The bill was reported to the full House of Representatives by a vote of 60 ayes to one no.

H.R. 5515 authorizes $11.2 billion for military construction, including $377.2 million for Guam. Military construction projects continue the ongoing progress on the Marine realignment as well as current operations, to include the hardening of military facilities on Guam. (Full table below)

The NDAA includes a provision sponsored by Congresswoman Bordallo to further address Guam’s ongoing labor challenges. Congresswoman Bordallo’s provision extends Guam’s exemption from the national H-2B caps through fiscal year 2020; provides USCIS with flexibility to approve H-2B visas applications of health care workers for Guam; and would permit H-2B workers admitted to Guam to reenter as a returning worker without counting against the national caps. Congresswoman Bordallo leveraged her seniority as the Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee to include this provision as part of an en bloc package of amendments adopted unanimously by the committee.

The HASC also approved Congresswoman Bordallo’s provision that will codify in federal law the Navy’s “net-negative” commitment to the people of Guam that the military will own less land than it started with after the completion of the Marine realignment. Congresswoman Bordallo included this provision during the Readiness Subcommittee’s markup to require the Secretary of the Navy to establish, maintain, and regularly update a publically accessible inventory of real property on Guam that the Navy expects to be transferred to the government of Guam as part of the “net-negative” commitment. She also establishes a formal mechanism for the Governor of Guam to petition the Secretary to add specific parcels to the inventory.

The bill further includes other provisions included by Congresswoman Bordallo during the Readiness Subcommittee’s markup that would require the Navy to perform scheduled repairs and maintenance of naval vessels without a homeport in shipyards located in the United States or Guam. It would also prohibit the Navy from developing the former Guam Ship Repair Facility (SRF) for use other than depot-level ship maintenance.

“The House Armed Services Committee continues our tradition of passing a bipartisan defense bill that gives our service members and their families the support and resources they need to perform their missions at home and around the world.

“This bill has provisions important to Guam that highlight Congress’ continued support for our island. Specifically the bill builds on the progress I made in last year’s defense bill to address Guam’s labor challenges. It would provide an extension to Guam’s exemption from the national H-2B visa cap through fiscal year 2020, provide flexibly for the approval of health care workers to enter Guam, and authorizes a returning worker program for H-2B workers to reenter Guam without counting against the national caps. This is another step in the right direction to ease Guam’s labor challenges and is part of my efforts to provide broad relief to our civilian community.

“The bill also holds the Navy accountable to its commitment to hold less land on Guam at the completion of the Marine realignment. I am committed to providing more transparency over what lands the Navy intends to return back to GovGuam and give our civilian leadership more say in properties that should be returned. To that end, the bill includes my provision to make the Navy’s list of lands to be returned available on a public website as well as give the Governor of Guam a formal mechanism to petition for specific properties to be returned. The Navy must make real concessions to Guam as part of this commitment, and my provision ensures that they are held accountable to this pledge.

“The NDAA also continues Congress’ firm commitment to the Marine realignment and provides $377.2 million for military construction projects on Guam. Further, it supports American jobs on Guam and in the region by closing loopholes that allowed the Navy to perform scheduled maintenance of Navy ships in foreign shipyards. Rather, my provision would require that this work be conducted, as originally intended by Congress, in an American shipyard on Guam or in the U.S.

“This is a good bill that will bolster military readiness, support our service members and their families, and enhance our national security. I look forward to its consideration by the full House of Representatives and enactment into law later this year.”

 

Fiscal Year 2019 Military Construction Authorization for Guam

Project

          Cost

 

     ACE Gym & Dining

27,910,000

 

     Earth Covered Magazines

52,270,000

 

     Machine Gun Range

70,000,000

 

     Ordnance Ops

22,020,000

 

     Unaccompanied Enlisted Housing

36,170,000

 

     X-Ray Wharf Improvements (Berth 2)

75,600,000

 

     Hayman Munitions Storage Igloos MSA 2

9,800,000

 

     Replace Andersen Housing Phase III

83,441,000

 

Guam Total

$   377,211,000