Friday, December 24, 2010

Say goodbye to Guam war reparations

Guam's longstanding effort for war reparations ought to have won passage by Congress this year. The island is facing major upheaval as a result of the build-up, and approval of reparations would have been one way for Congress to demonstrate to Guam that it honors the sacrifices that the people of the island have made. But it was rejected, once again, this year. That's probably it for war reparations; it has zero prospects in the next Congress.

Consider the 9/11 health care bill, which began at more than $7 billion, but was chopped down to $4.3 billion. The 9/11 bill will help pay the medical cost of men and women who helped in the rescue. Many have suffered serious health problems, from long-term disability to death, as a result exposure to toxins.

But a significant group of Republicans opposed it for a laundry list of reasons. Among them, that the U.S. didn’t have the money for additional benefits.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Bordallo said, in published reports, that she will try again next year to win approval of the $100 million war reparations bill and believes she has some key support for it. Bordallo is being strung along.

There will be little interest in the next Congress for bills such as war reparations. Lawmakers are expecting to seek cuts in many programs, including defense-related. Even if Bordallo can find a revenue source to offset reparations, that revenue source is more likely to get assigned to more pressing needs, such as school lunch programs.