Moylan: Guam shortchanged under 2024 proposed federal budget
By Pacific Island Times News Staff The Biden administration’s proposed allocation for Guam and other U.S. territories under the 2024 federal budget is inadequate, Guam Delegate James Moylan said. The Department of the Interior has proposed $537 million to be shared among Guam, the Northern Marianas, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands, as well as to fund programs for the countries under the Compacts of Free Association. “Spread evenly among the stakeholders, each would receive less than the $191 million being proposed in the same budget, to fund security for the 2024 presidential campaign,” Moylan said in a letter to Biden. “As our office continues to review your administration’s fiscal year 2024 proposed budget, I must state that I am disappointed that the territories continue to be left behind when it comes to the priorities of this government,” he added.
Moylan said the amount Guam stands to receive is not commensurate to the island’s role in homeland security.
“Guam is often overlooked and cut out of federal funding channels. When defending America’s borders from drug trafficking, Guam is left to defend itself,” Moylan said.
“I must state with sheer confidence that our community’s patriotism spreads beyond the confines of the military bases on the island, yet this budget continues to only focus on prioritizing what takes place inside the fences. This inequitable mindset needs to end,” he added.
He noted that Guam has one of the highest enlistments per capita in the nation, and is home to one the largest veteran communities per capita.
“Your administration fought against the extension of Supplemental Security Income to U.S. territories in the Supreme Court, failing to consider my constituents who are struggling to put food on the table. Our office is introducing legislation to address this inequitable position, and we hope to obtain your support,” Moylan said.
As for the Compact impact, Moylan said the Biden administration overlooked the financial burden shouldered by U.S. jurisdictions that host migrants from freely associated states.
"The federal government does not provide an equitable reimbursement for our education, public safety, and public health agencies, and has not recognized the social impacts free and unlimited migration creates," he said.
"I hope to obtain the administration’s support on realistic and justifiable reimbursements when the COFA negotiations commence this year," he added.