San Nicolas: federal reimbursement for local war claims program not likely to happen

Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas delivers his first congressional address

Delivering his first congressional address before the 35th Guam Legislature on Monday, Guam’s Delegate to Congress Michael San Nicolas confronted local leaders over the enactment of a local war reparation law, which he warned is not only bound to fail but will likely jeopardize H.R. 1365 as well.

“It is very plain from my perspective that any alternative attempt to pass a federal measure to reimburse local expenditures is not going to succeed,” San Nicolas said, urging the local legislature to repeal the newly signed Public Law 35-61, which establishes the 75th Guam War Claims Fund.

P.L. 35-61, introduced in the Guam Legislature as Bill 181-35 and signed by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Jan. 3, authorizes the governor to tap local funds to pay for the WWII survivors’ adjudicated war reparation claims. Local leaders anticipate these local funds — with $14 million already set aside by the administration — to be reimbursed by the U.S. Treasury through a yet-to-be signed memorandum of understanding.

“That will never happen, and to attempt it in the Congress would evaporate the credibility and goodwill we have earned in pursuit of something that is certain to fail,” San Nicolas said in