Speaker Villagomez calls for an emergency session to tackle budget bill
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) will hold separate press conferences today, Tuesday, to talk about the budget bill for the government’s operations in Fiscal Year 2023.
This developed as House of Representatives Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) called yesterday for an emergency session for today at 2pm in the House chamber.
Villagomez said the reason for finding that an emergency exists is based on the urgent need to address the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Act, or the budget bill.
Strategic Communications coordinator Brianna Hunter informed the media yesterday that Torres will be issuing a statement regarding a possible upcoming government shutdown.
Hunter said the press briefing will be held in the governor’s office’s conference room at 10:30am.
Hofschneider yesterday also scheduled a press conference in the Senate chamber for today at 10am to discuss the FY 2023 budget.
Torres has until Oct. 1, 2022 to enact a new budget bill into law or risk a partial shutdown of government operations in an election year.
Last Aug. 27, the House passed a budget bill to appropriate $109.7 million out of $150.4 million in total budgetary resources, and $52.6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funds, for government operations in FY 2023.
Citing the House majority’s “negligent and inappropriate actions” they have done in the budget bill, Torres recently expressed doubt whether the Legislature will be able to pass by the deadline a balanced budget legislation.
With the backing of their legal counsel Joe Bermudes’ opinion, stating, among other things, that it is only the governor who has the authority to allocate or expend ARPA funds, the Senate on Friday unanimously passed their version of a budget bill.