Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate passed HR 2462 (Del. Robert Underwood - Guam), the Guam Omnibus Opportunities Act, late Tuesday night by unanimous consent. The bill directs the Administrator of General Services to notify the Government of Guam of any excess U.S. property (including property within the Guam National Wildlife Refuge) in Guam and to transfer that property to the Government of Guam upon the request of the Governor. The measure was amended by the Senate to address several federal agency concerns. The legislation also authorizes the Governors of the Pacific territories and the state of Hawaii to report on the impact of the Compacts of Free Association in their area of jurisdiction. The Compacts of Free Association define the political relationship between the U.S. and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands and allows “free association” with the United States. Under the terms of the Compacts, residents of these countries can freely enter the United States to study and work. This entry is principally felt in the Pacific territories and Hawaii, and the measure allows the governors of those areas to take the initial step in assessing its impact. Previously, the Secretary of the Interior would lead in preparing the impact report. The land transfer authorization and Compacts impact reports was previously introduced in the Senate by Chairman Frank H. Murkowski in 1996 after a Committee visit to Guam. That legislation, S. 210, passed the Senate, but no action was taken in the House. The current Guam measure, as amended, now heads back to the House for approval. ###