Gov. Torres is doing so well managing the Commonwealth government he has decided to start advising the U.S. Senate.
He recently issued a press release, saying Senate Democrats should accept the pandemic relief package that Senate Republicans and the White House have offered.
Respectfully, the governor is wrong.
What Trump has offered is an employee payroll tax holiday for four months that employees must start repaying in April 2021. A cut of half of FPUC benefits for the unemployed.
What McConnell in the Senate has offered is a slim coronavirus bill that 20 of his own Republican colleagues refuse to support.
In the U.S. House, I am proud to say, we passed the HEROES Act in May with some $2.14 billion for the Commonwealth government and over $700 million for more stimulus, more FPUC and PUA, more for schools, more for infrastructure, and more for health care. We even provided separate money for the municipalities of the First Senatorial District of Rota, the Second Senatorial District of Tinian And Aguiguan, and the Third Senatorial District of Saipan and the Northern Islands.
About $2.9 billion for the Marianas altogether.
What Senate Republicans have offered has zero money for the Commonwealth and other state governments, facing bankruptcy because of the coronavirus.
I think Democrats in Congress are right to hold out for more money.
And our negotiating strategy is working. With voting already begun in the presidential election, Trump recently blinked and tweeted his agreement that the next relief package does need more money.
So, unless the governor has some secret plan to revive the Marianas economy (more Chinese gambling money?), he’d better hope his advice to Congress is ignored, Democrats win this argument, and the Commonwealth gets the federal help needed to survive.
Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan is the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ delegate to the U.S. Congress.