A continuing resolution that President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday night contains language (Section 1601) that completely cancels the $93.7 million debt the Commonwealth took on for a Community Disaster Loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Delegate Gregorio KIlili C. Sablan’s weekly e-newsletter on Sunday.
It said that after Super Typhoon Yutu hit the CNMI in October 2018, Torres asked Sablan for a change in federal law that would allow him to get the loan to fund government operations. Community Disaster Loans are capped by law at $5 million and are only available to municipalities, not a state-level government like the Commonwealth.
“I did include the necessary statutory change, allowing the governor to borrow, in Section 311 of the fiscal 2021 omnibus appropriation, Public Law 116-260, enacted in December 2020. FEMA had already provided the governor with $5 [million] and he quickly borrowed $88,734,930 more.
“Given how shaky our economy is, however, I did not want the people of the Marianas saddled with so much debt. I was able to include forgiveness language in the Homeland Security appropriation for [fiscal year 2022] earlier this year, but that spending bill has not yet passed the House. With the same language included in the continuing resolution this week, however, the Marianas debt is now completely cancelled,” said Sablan. (Saipan Tribune)