By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Early in his freshman term, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California announced that Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas would be her vice chairman on the powerful House Financial Services Committee.
The news below is something every resident of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam will want to read. Hell, actually, every American citizen should want to know this:
Mr. San Nicolas announced this morning in his video message to Guam from Washington that his committee is rolling out a bill that will, if passed, provide $2,000 for every adult and $1,000 for every child every month during this COVID-19 crisis.
The bill also will suspend the payments of home loans, car loans, student loans, credit cards, and personal loans. There will be no negative credit reporting as a result.
The bill will prohibit debt collection, foreclosure, and repossessions. Evictions will be banned. Rental and utilities payments will be suspended.
The committee's legislation contemplates securities to banks and creditors on the back end to maintain the integrity of the nation's financial systems.
And, yes, territories like Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are included.
According to Mr. San Nicolas, the bill will provide for:
$2,000 a month for each adult and $1,000 for each child. This is higher than what’s being proposed by the administration and by the senate. So of course this thing is going to come together and there’s going to be some kind of negotiation. We want this payment to happen on a monthly basis for maybe three months at a time, revisiting this every three months to see if we need to roll it over and continue it. But this money is basically to help families to purchase what it is they need to make ends meet. And to be able to provide for a decent quality of life.
We’re also going to be proposing suspending all consumer and small business credit payments. So if you have a mortgage, a car loan, a student loan, a credit card, or a personal loan, you won’t need to make payments. So we’re going to give you $2,000 up front, and we’re going to make sure that you don’t have to pay these bills on the back end, that way everything is able to stabilize throughout this crisis. You can stay home and not have to worry about losing your car (etc.) while having the resources to provide for your family.
Other measures in the bill include funding to address homelessness, and $10 billion in community development block grants for the continuation of public infrastructure.
Other versions of this legislation are being proposed in the Senate and by the Trump administration. The common denominator is a per adult and per child monthly cash relief from the federal government. In a letter to Guam Republican Party chairman Tony Ada, Mr. San Nicolas describes the range of this legislation as $1,000 per adult and $500 per child.
The congressman's letter to the island's Republican Party leadership asks their support to push their Republican connections in the House, the Senate and the White House to help Mr. San Nicolas ensure the territories are included every step of the way.
Mr. San Nicolas, who is a Democrat freshman lawmaker in Congress who already has gained the confidence and esteem of the leadership of his caucus, often has relied upon Republican leaders in Guam to help him push legislation - such as federal war claims that he passed in an historic accomplishment for Guam - in the federal government.
Guam's Republican Party has been magnanimous in its response to the congressman while, ironically, Guam's Democrats - including Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero - have either refused to help or actively worked against Guam's interests if Mr. San Nicolas would end up scoring a win for Guam under his tenure.
In his letter to Mr. Ada, the congressman wrote:
As our cooperation has rendered critical results for our people on the issue of War Claims, I again seek the support of the Republican Party of Guam to join me in ensuring that our island is fully included in this critical cash relief component.
My discussions thus far in the House are indicative of such inclusion; however, it is critical that the Republican controlled Senate and White House also support our inclusion. As such, I once again seek the assistance of the Republican Party to secure this resource for our island should it come to fruition for the rest of the country.
Thank you for your kind consideration. I very much look forward to working with the Republican Party once again to see this through.