As Guam expects to receive $660 million in new Covid-19 relief aid under President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion package, there is an even greater need for the enactment of the Separation of Powers Act, according to the Republican Party of Guam.
Senators last week passed Bill 11-36, which Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero is threatening to veto.
The bill would require a legislative review of the governor's public health emergency declaration.
"The measure promotes transparency, checks and balances, and provides the community the opportunity to ask questions on the true state of our island when it comes to the emergency health declaration, the Republicans said in a statement.
The bill was co-authored by Sens. Chris Duenas, Tony Ada, and James Moylan and supported by Speaker Therese Terlaje, and Sens. Frank Blas Jr., Joanne Brown, Telo Taitague and Telena Nelson. Seven senators voted against the bill.
The legislature will need 10 votes to override the governor's potential veto of the bill.
"Since swearing in as the island’s I Maga’Hagan Guahan in 2019, no other piece of legislation has received such strong opposition from the governor as Bill 11-36 and makes us wonder for the reason for this opposition," the Republican Party said.
"If enacted, Bill 11-36 would just require the executive branch to be more transparent on how federal dollars are being expended on the island during a governor declared emergency," the party added.
Republicans noted that last year the legislature did not get clear answers as to how the CARES Act funds were spent and that inquires about political hires and procurement contracts were left unexplained.
"This need is exponentially increased by the fact that 2022 will be an election year, and we can agree that having a strong checks and balances statute in place prior to our next election would provide the community with a sense of security and relief that no one is playing political games with the extremely needed and limited emergency relief funds that all of us have been able to secure," the Republican Party said.
"They will have the comfort of knowing exactly how the funds are being spent.
For all the above reasons, we believe that Gov. Leon Guerrero has over $660 million reasons to support Bill 11-36 and we hope and pray that she will reconsider her decision prior to vetoing the measure."