Guam Del. Michael San Nicolas took to social media to respond to statements made by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Monday regarding the federal war claims bill that awaits approval by the U.S. Senate.
San Nicolas is the author of the bill, H.R. 1365, which remains under consideration by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee after it was passed by the House of Representatives in July.
The governor told reporters Monday that Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio and Chief of Staff Tony Babauta have been lobbying members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in recent days.
“Apparently they’re not very familiar” with H.R. 1365, said the governor. “So, Josh and Tony are talking to the staff.”
Her comment was followed by a response from San Nicolas that same afternoon.
"What a horrible untruth to say to our people," San Nicolas stated on Facebook.
"We have been engaging Senate leadership and staff for weeks. Even the Republicans were out here weeks before 'Josh and Tony'were talking with Senate staff so saying they aren't familiar is just a flat out lie," San Nicolas told the administration. "Quit wasting local taxpayer dollars flying your staff around DC pretending to do the work of my Office. It is not only a waste of money – it is making Guam look bad because Members of Congress see your misrepresentations and find it insulting to the work that is done in Washington."
San Nicolas said though his office is aware the bill could be passed in November, he's not making any announcements to avoid giving potentially false hopes.
San Nicolas added, in part: "But again you're jumping the gun on announcing potential progress on 1365 because the Senate shot down your local Bill 181 war claims idea. We know this even though you are trying to hide it. It's why Speaker Barnes pulled her war claims bill off of last week's session too...just be upfront with the people about it."
San Nicolas also told the governor: Try leading instead of politicking for a change.
Fix it together or argue on Facebook
Leon Guerrero said she is hoping the Senate will pass the federal war claims correction bill by November.
“Senate officials told us they were unfamiliar with the measure," said Gov. Leon Guerrero in response to the delegate's social media post. "We can either fix that together or argue about it on Facebook. My choice is to try and fix it.”
Speaker Tina Muña Barnes’ war claims measure in the Guam Legislature, Bill 181-35, was scheduled for discussion during last week’s session but the governor asked the speaker to postpone consideration of her measure until it’s known what course the Senate Judiciary Committee will follow.
Leon Guerrero said she views the local war reparations measure as “enhancing and complementing” San Nicolas’ efforts.
However, San Nicolas urged Guam senators not to pass the local war reparations bill, saying it could jeopardize passage of his war claims correction measure in the Senate.