A bill that would correct the World War II Loyalty Recognition Act and allow for the release of reparation awards to Guam’s manåmko' has taken a step forward in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Guam Del. Michael San Nicolas announced that H.R. 1365 has been scheduled for a markup hearing in the Natural Resources Committee. The hearing is set for June 19.
A markup hearing is a full committee hearing during which the merits of the legislation are discussed, amendments can be offered, and a vote is taken on whether to report the bill out to the floor for a vote by the full House.
In a statement announcing the markup hearing, San Nicolas said, "We are moving this war claims legislation forward as quickly as we can using all available networks because we fully understand the urgency in our community to address this issue."
The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission has awarded over $5 million in claims to more than 500 survivors of the Japanese occupation during WWII. No checks have been issued because former Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo neglected to include a provision to authorize the U.S. Treasury Department to make the payments in the bill she originally introduced.
H.R. 1365 corrects that deficiency and allows the Treasury Department to issue checks to the survivors who have already won compensation awards.
San Nicolas said his bill was drafted in consultation with the Treasury Department. It was introduced on Feb. 26 and it was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which he is a member of.
The congressman thanked committee Chairman Raul Grijalva "for expediting this process and co-sponsoring H.R. 1365."
"With his support and the support of my Democratic colleagues on the NRC Committee, I am confident we will be able to move our war claims legislation to the next level," said San Nicolas.
San Nicolas said he also would seek support from the Guam Republican Party and the Trump administration to help ensure our Republican friends in Congress also support the passage of H.R. 1365.
Funds for war claims are taken from the Section 30 reimbursements owed to Guam.