With so much uncertainty over the proposed extension of federal government assistance and the unstable outlook for Guam businesses, Sen. Therese Terlaje passed an amendment to the RISE Act of 2020, that could potentially double the original amount of assistance from $400 for individual filers and $800 for joint filers, to $800 and $1,600, respectively.
Terlaje also passed an amendment that allows the program to become effective upon enactment of the bill, which would provide even more flexibility to the governor, if conditions are more suitable to use already available Coronavirus Relief Funds immediately, in lieu of other sources of funding.
“While there is some mortgage relief and other aid still available, $400 may not be enough for most families," Terlaje said. "These amendments provide maximum flexibility while there is uncertainty about which federal programs will end or which will continue, allowing the government of Guam the opportunity to provide more relief to our families as quickly as possible."
The RISE Act, or Bill 340-35, was authored by Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee and was up for discussion on the session floor today. Sens. James Moylan and Telo Taitague joined Terlaje by sponsoring the amendment that raises the ceiling for proposed assistance under the program.
“I am thankful to my colleagues for supporting these critical amendments, recognizing the financial situation that many of our families find themselves in while businesses have been wholly or partially shut down for most of 2020. The legislature doesn’t have the authority to appropriate federal monies, so it is an important step to giving more options to the government to urgently provide this assistance for the people of Guam as a priority of this body."