House Passes FY17 NDAA, Bordallo’s War Claims and H-2B Visa Flexibility Amendments Included
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 by a vote of 277 yeas to 147 noes. The bill includes the two amendments offered by Congresswoman Bordallo that were made in order by the House Rules Committee last night. These include Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendment for war claims for the survivors of the occupation of Guam and her amendment to give USCIS flexibility renewing H-2B visa renewals on Guam. The bill includes provisions sponsored by Congresswoman Bordallo during markup by the House Armed Services Committee. The bill will be reconciled with the Senate’s version of the FY17 NDAA during a Conference Committee later this year.
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H.R. 4909 includes the full text of H.R. 44, as modified, the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act. Congresswoman Bordallo testified before the House Rules Committee to offer the amendment, which was made in order last night. The amendment would implement recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission and authorize the payment of claims for the survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam during World War II as well as the descendants of those who died as a result of the occupation. The amendment does not add to federal spending and utilizes a budgetary offset of additional section 30 funding above Fiscal Year 2014 levels that is received by Guam for federal personnel stationed on island. This offset was agreed to by local leaders. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote.
H.R. 4909 also includes Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendment to give the USCIS flexibility in renewing H-2B visas on Guam. The amendment is needed to ensure an adequate workforce is available on Guam to support the realignment of Marines and Guam’s health industry. The amendment was included in en-bloc package 4, which was agreed to by voice vote.
“Today the House of Representatives took another important step towards recognizing the people of Guam who suffered horrible atrocities during World War II. The amendment authorizes claims for the living survivors of the occupation and the descendants of those who died during the occupation, and it does not add any new federal spending. I strongly believe that Congress has the moral obligation to resolve this issue, and I have never stopped advocating to give our survivors the recognition they deserve. I will work with the Senate to keep this provision in the final defense bill when we meet in Conference later this year.”
“Further, I am pleased that the House has passed the full FY17 defense bill. While the bill is not perfect, it does provide our servicemembers and families with critical resources to carry out their mission. I am also pleased that the bill includes key provisions important to Guam to move forward with the Marine realignment. This includes my amendment to give the USCIS flexibility in renewing H-2B visas on Guam. The bill also fully authorizes $253 million for military construction projects, further lifts restrictions on civilian infrastructure projects contained in the Office of Economic report, and keeps the DoD accountable to their “net-negative” policy. These are all steps that demonstrate our country’s commitment to Guam and the Asia-Pacific region, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that they remain in bill when we reconcile differences with the Senate during Conference Committee.”