The Legislature has named representatives to a conference committee to tackle and review the proposed government budget for fiscal year 2016.
The House of Representatives and Senate both agreed on the draft $145-million budget, but each presented radically different appropriations for certain CNMI government agencies.
One major difference is $5.6 million that the Senate “moved around” so that more can be given to law enforcement agencies, particularly the Department of Public Safety.
The House eventually rejected the Senate version of the budget.
“There are a lot of issues with it so we rejected it,” Rep. Antonio P. Sablan (Ind-Saipan) said without disclosing specific details.
House Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) named Reps. Antonio Sablan (Ind-Saipan), Felicidad Ogomuro (R-Saipan), and Angel Demapan (R-Saipan) as members of the House’s conference committee.
Their counterparts in the Senate are Sens. Justo Quitugua (Ind-Saipan), Frank Cruz (R-Tinian), and Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian), who chairs the Senate Committee on Fiscal Affairs that conducted the budget review for the Senate.
The House Speaker said the Legislature will soon determine a schedule on the meeting of the conference committee.
As with previous legislatures, the budget will now be discussed by a conference committee that will seek to hammer out a compromise budget.
The budget that will be approved by the conference committee will then be sent to both the House of Representatives and the Senate before being transmitted to Gov. Eloy S. Inos for signing.