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Friday, April 18, 2014

Pacific territories’ priorities in CAPAC meeting with Obama

The leadership of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus raise several issues affecting the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, including presidential appointments, immigration, the Affordable Care Act and the Omnibus Territories Act. From left, Rep. Mike Honda, chair emeritus; Rep. Judy Chu, caucus chair; President Obama; Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo, caucus vice chair; Rep. Mark Takano, Whip; and Rep. Tammy Duckworth. (Pete Souza) WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU) joined members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus yesterday in a meeting with President Barack Obama at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to discuss concerns and legislative priorities.

Bordallo, who serves as vice chair of the caucus, raised the importance of S. 1237, the Omnibus Territories Act of 2013, and asked for the Obama administration’s support of the bill as it moves through the legislative process. The bill contains many provisions important to Guam, including the text of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, and she thanked the President for his support for this provision to finally resolve war claims for the people of Guam.

Bordallo also encouraged the President to urge the Department of Homeland Security to come to a favorable decision on a China visa waiver for Guam. She stressed its importance to Guam’s tourism industry and the need for DHS to come to a decision before a leadership transition at DHS.

CAPAC chair Judy Chu and other members raised their concerns over the lack of presidential appointments for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and discussed immigration, language access in the Affordable Care Act and Native Hawaiian recognition.

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with President Obama to personally address the importance of the Omnibus Territories Act,” said Bordallo. “I thanked the President for his leadership on issues important to our Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, and I requested the administration’s support for this important bill. Among its many provisions, the bill will finally resolve war claims for our island’s man’amko by incorporating the full text of H.R 44 into section 12. It will also help to strengthen our economies and ensure energy efficiency by requiring a team of experts to address the energy needs of the territories and requiring the GAO to report forecast revenues and expenditures in order to improve these forecasts. The Omnibus Territories Act is an important step forward in addressing the unique challenges facing the Pacific Island territories and the Freely Associated States, and I will work with my colleagues and the administration to answer any questions regarding this bill and respond to concerns that may arise. I also appreciate the administration’s continued focus on expanding Guam and CNMI’s tourism markets. President Obama announced the expansion of parole authority for Russian visitors to Guam and I hope his continued focus on this issue will enable expansion to the Chinese market.” (Office of the Guam Delegate)

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