Biden's Build Back Better bill guarantees new hospital for Guam, governor's says
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Bill, once signed into law, would guarantee to fund a new hospital on Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
“The most significant opportunity for our community in the Build Back Better Bill is the allocation of at least $347.5 million for our new hospital, which is a direct investment for our people," the governor said.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has only underscored the importance of prioritizing our health care systems and facilities. As a nurse, I know too well that this is long overdue," she added.
The bill, dubbed as Biden's centerpiece program, passed by a vote of 220-213, mostly along party lines, on Friday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the Build Back Better Bill as "historic, transformative and larger than anything we have ever done before."
The bill is headed to the Senate.
For Guam, other critical provisions include increased allocation and federal match for Medicaid and the expansion of SSI benefits to the territories, which will help our Administration continue reducing our island’s uninsured population and moving us closer toward our goal of providing more accessible and affordable healthcare services and monthly assistance through SSI for low-income senior citizens and disabled individuals.
“The inclusion of funds for our administration’s priority to construct a hospital allows me the flexibility to shift ARPA resources for programs which support ongoing recovery efforts," Leon Guerrero said.
"Given the high fuel costs, our administration is now moving forward to implement a fuel voucher program that will provide direct aid to assist residents with transportation costs as they look for employment,” she added.
Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said providing more affordable education and expanding early education opportunities to our youngest learners who have been most affected by this pandemic can become reality through investments in colleges, universal preschool, and child care.
" Additional assistance for families includes the expansion of the child tax credit and a national paid leave program. The progress for families, workers, and students that this bill intends to deliver for our people will only complement what our administration will be rolling out in the coming weeks and months ahead," he added. "Now, we look to the Senate to keep these important provisions in the bill and pass it swiftly, so we can begin executing these historic programs.”
The Democratic Party of Guam issued a statement welcoming the passage of the Build Back Better Plan.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the country and our island to Build Back Better. This is something that elected leaders across the aisle in the Guam Legislature, in our Executive Branch, as well as our delegate in Congress have been able to come together with a united voice on,” said Tony Babauta, party chairman.
“As this framework moves to the U.S. Senate, I hope that the Republican Party Chairman joins our People as we advocate for its swift passage through the Senate and get this to the President’s desk.”