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Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo

Representing the People of Guam

House Passes FY18 Defense Bill

July 14, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 by a vote of 344 yeas to 81 noes. H.R. 2810 authorizes $621.5 billion for national defense programs as well as an additional $74.6 billion for overseas contingency operations. It will be reconciled with the Senate version of the FY18 NDAA later this year.

H.R. 2810 authorizes $9.7 billion for military construction, including $354.654 million for Guam that authorizes the full appropriations passed by the House Appropriations Committee earlier this month.  Military constructions projects continue the ongoing progress on the Marine realignment as well as current operations which include the hardening of select military facilities. (See the full table below)

The House of Representatives also maintained provisions included by Congresswoman Bordallo during the House Armed Services Committee’s markup. The bill addresses the ongoing H-2B visa crisis on Guam by granting the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) flexibility to reverse the rate of denials for H-2B visas related to military construction and health care on Guam; a similar provision was included in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the NDAA and differences will be reconciled in Conference Committee.

The bill also maintains Congresswoman Bordallo’s provisions requiring the Navy to convey the former Ship Repair Facility to the Guam Economic Development Authority, at no cost to the Government of Guam; requiring the Government Accountability Office to perform an independent review to determine if Agent Orange, or other dioxin-based herbicides, were ever transited through, or stored or used on Guam, using available documentation and stakeholder engagement; limiting the use of certain funds for the Office of the Secretary of the Navy until such time as a Request for Proposal to re-establish dry-docking capabilities in the Western Pacific has been issued; and requiring the Navy to address outstanding concerns regarding the clearance of Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC).

“I continue to have serious concerns by the use of OCO funding for non-contingency operations, but this is a good bill that provides our men and women in uniform and their families with the resources they need to fulfill their mission and keep our country safe. I am especially proud that the bill continues the progress we are making to move forward with the Marine Realignment and provide nearly $355 million for military construction projects in Guam. The bill also includes my provision to address Guam’s H-2B visa crisis and provide USCIS with authority to reverse the nearly 100 percent denial rate for our construction and healthcare industries and extend Guam’s exemption from national caps until 2020. The Senate Armed Services Committee included a similar provision in its version of the NDAA, and I will work in Conference to resolve the differences between their provision and ours. We must have an adequate workforce on Guam that is able to support our civilian and military needs.

“Additionally, I am pleased that the House maintained a provision I sponsored in Committee to convey the Navy’s former Ship Repair Facility to GEDA at no cost to GovGuam. Doing so will allow Guam to leverage this resource to enhance our ship repair capabilities and provide specialized, good paying jobs to our local workforce.

“The bill also includes language to further investigate whether Agent Orange was used, stored, or transshipped through Guam. We need fact-based information that takes into account available documentation as well as community input to determine the extent, if any, that these or similar chemicals were used on Guam and how to move forward with addressing this matter.

“This is a good bill for our community and nation. I look forward to protecting provisions important to Guam when the House and Senate meet in Conference Committee later this year.”

List of provisions impacting Guam and submitted by Congresswoman Bordallo:

  • Grants the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services flexibility needed to reverse the rate of denials for H-2B visas related to military construction and health care on Guam in order to ensure that the island has an adequate workforce to meet labor needs. This legislation would also extend the duration from which Guam is exempt from the national H-2B caps to October 1, 2020.
  • Moves forward efforts to transfer critical property to the Government of Guam by requiring the Secretary of the Navy to convey the Former Ship Repair Facility to the Guam Economic Development Authority for the use of ship repair and other military maintenance purposes, at no cost to the Government of Guam.
  • Limits the use of funds for the Office of the Secretary of the Navy until the Secretary notifies Congress that a Request for Proposal has been issued to solicit bids for the chartering of a dry dock in the Western Pacific that satisfies the minimum requirements for heavy ship depot-level repair.
  • Continues to highlight and ensure focus on the Agent Orange evidence review by requiring the Government Accountability Office to perform an independent review of the Federal Government’s handling of Agent Orange on Guam, to determine if Agent Orange, or other dioxin-based herbicides, were ever transited through, or store or used on Guam. GAO will provide a report after thorough analysis of available documentation, as well as stakeholder engagement.
  • Requires the Navy to address outstanding concerns related to requirements associated with clearance of Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC). This includes a briefing on the status of the following: the MEC response on Guam, an update on the hiring of full time MEC personnel to streamline processes, plans to update the MEC Likelihood Map for Guam to reflect data on hazardous versus non-hazardous anomalies detected. It also recommends the establishment of a Quality Assurance Surveillance Program to oversee and standardize the quality assurance requirements.
  • Requires the Secretaries of the Army and the Navy to update the committee on progress made in the development of technologies associated with the safe and effective demolition of unexploded underwater munitions. These munitions can damage coral reefs and pose a danger to human and aquatic life in near-shore locations.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on local purchasing contracts for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) on Guam. This encourages DeCA to better facilitate local purchasing agreements and ensure that initiatives are being undertaken to communicate with and encourage participation of local vendors and distributors.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to report on steps taken to formalize the Department of Defense’s policy for the protection of cultural heritage and property during armed conflict in which the United States is engaged.
  • Encourages greater coordination between the Secretaries of Defense, Interior, and Agriculture to combat encroachment, advance natural resource and critical habitat goals, and support military readiness through the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership Program.
  • Reaffirms the U.S. security commitments to the Governments of Japan and South Korea and conveys the importance of trilateral cooperation and dialogue on the full range of issues related to North Korea and other security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Expresses the Sense of Congress that the United States should strengthen and enhance its long-standing partnership with Taiwan, to include expanding opportunities for exchanges.
  • Supports the President’s Budget request for the B-21 Raider, the Air Force Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program;
  • Supports the President’s Budget request for a total of $75 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI).
  • Provides an additional $2 million for the Naval Sea Cadet Corps Program to promote youth engagement in service-based and healthy community-oriented activities.

 

Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction Authorization for Guam

Service

Project

Cost

Navy

Aircraft Maintenance Hangar #2

75,233,000

Navy

Corrosion Control Hangar

66,747,000

Navy

MALS Facilities

49,431,000

Navy

Navy-Commercial Tie-in Hardening

37,180,000

Navy

Water Well Field

56,088,000

Navy

Replace Andersen Housing PH2

40,875,000

Defense Logistics Agency

Construct Truck Load and Unload Facility

23,900,000

Air Force Reserve

Reserve Medical Training Facility

5,200,000

 

 

$  354,654,000