Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo may be leaving Washington soon, but she wants the folks back home to know that she did her best to keep a provision that would ban cockfighting in Guam, the CNMI and other U.S. territories out of the just-passed Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R.2), also known as Farm Bill .
In another Guam,CNMI-relevant matter, the Farm Bill rejects deep cuts to assistance programs, such as SNAP.
According to a press release from Bordallo's office, the ban was incorporated in a conference report that is now part of the Farm Bill, which passed the House by a vote of 369-47.
The release points out that none of the delegates or resident commissioners are permitted to vote on final passage. The passed bill now has a provision that would extend the existing federal ban on cockfighting in the 50 states to the territories.
"Congresswoman Bordallo and all representatives from the U.S. territories strongly opposed this provision and worked hard in an attempt to exclude it from the final bill. Congresswoman Bordallo and her colleagues spoke on the floor of the House earlier this year in an effort to prevent the provision from being included in the House bill. They also worked with members of the Senate to reject the provision in the Senate bill; however it was ultimately carried in the conference report," the release said.
“The bipartisan conference agreement on the Farm Bill rejects attempts to cut federal benefits for many working families, including deeps cuts to SNAP and a severely strict work requirement on adult SNAP participants that would have kicked many beneficiaries off the program, including some Guam residents. These are important programs that help many of our most needy families and children.
“Despite the progress made to protect assistance to families and children, it is unconscionable that this bill imposes a federal ban on cockfighting in the territories without the consent of our local governments or input from any of the territories’ representatives in Congress. Each of my colleagues from the territories and I strongly opposed this provision because it ignored the will of our constituents and established local laws in our jurisdictions. We worked diligently to try and defeat this provision, including successfully defeating the provision in the Senate bill and offering to work with the House sponsor in order to find a mutual agreement. However, our offers were not reciprocated.
"I appreciate the hard work and diligence of Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who advocated for the territories’ position in the Conference committee. It is disappointing that our views were not respected, and this another reason why Guam must resolve our political status and push for full voting representation in Congress.”