Blanco seeks talks with Senate to move budget swiftly


House Ways and Means Committee chair Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) has asked House Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan) to request for a meeting with the Senate leadership to discuss how to move forward with the fiscal year 2021 budget in a swift manner.

The Legislature has until Sept. 30 to pass the budget to avoid a government shutdown.

During Tuesday’s House session, Blanco said he does not have any official notice or updates from the Senate as their days are numbered to pass the budget. Blanco asked Attao if they can sit with Senate President Victor Hocog (R-Rota) and Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee chair Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Saipan) so they can find out where the Senate is with the budget and how the members of House Ways and Means can help move the process along.

Attao said he will be following up again with Hocog and their colleagues in the Senate to sit with them so they can address the budget bill and get it out of the Senate, and forward it to the desk of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for his review and action.

The House passed House Bill 21-124, or the Appropriations and Budget Authority Act of 2021, last Aug. 13. The total identified budgetary resources for fiscal year 2021 is $144.41 million, with adjustments bringing it down to $87.21 million. The Executive Branch was appropriated $23.38 million, while the Judiciary and the Legislature were appropriated $4.36 million and $4.87 million, respectively. Rota was appropriated $4.84 million; Tinian and Aguiguan, $4.28 million; and Saipan and Northern Islands mayors and Saipan Municipal Council, $1.77 million. Boards and commissions were appropriated $837,317; independent programs, $10.05 million; and other programs, $28 million.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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