Washington, D.C. – The US House is closing in on passage of its version of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act defense bill. The bill’s Guam provisions remain intact.
Almost $355 million in Guam build-up projects and more than $100 million above the current-year figure are included in the FY 2018 NDAA. That amount includes almost $41 million for replacement housing at Andersen Air Force Base which is not included in the pending Senate version of the new NDAA—a difference that will have to be hashed out in House-Senate negotiations.
There are also differences over critical H-2B worker visa relief for Guam that will need to be negotiated. But Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo told colleagues on the House floor that House Armed Services leaders lent strong support to her effort in that chamber’s NDAA.
“I would especially like to thank Chairman Thornberry for following through on his commitment last year to work with me to include my provision that would help address critical workforce shortages, affecting military construction and healthcare, essential to the military build-up on Guam,” said Bordallo.
Bordallo is the top Democrat on the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee which first included her H-2B provision that she must now defend against a Senate provision that places a 4,000 worker cap on the visas and covers only construction workers—not those in healthcare.
Bordallo, meanwhile, says other NDAA provisions will also help Guam.
“The readiness portion of this bill also includes provisions to support ship repair in the western Pacific as well as full-funding for critical military construction projects,” Bordallo noted.
Other Bordallo provisions in the House, but not the Senate version, would direct the Navy Secretary to convey the Former Ship Repair Facility to the Guam Economic Development Authority at no cost, and require the Government Accountability Office to review the government’s handling of Agent Orange on Guam.
The Senate is expected to pass it’s NDAA sometime before an abbreviated August recess.