Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota) expects the full House of Representatives to quickly pass at its regular session today, Thursday, the “product” of the bicameral conference committee that worked out a $144.84-million budget for CNMI government’s operations for Fiscal Year 2022.
The House’s expected adoption of the conference committee’s “product” will essentially pass the budget legislation, House Bill 22-74, in the form of HD3, SD1, Conference Committee Substitute 1.
Since the Senate had already adopted the conference committee’s report and passed the budget bill Tuesday, it means that after the House’s passage, this legislation.
will then be submitted today, Thursday, to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ table for his signature. Torres has to sign the bill before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, 2021. Without a budget for the new fiscal year, the CNMI government will be forced to have a partial shutdown.
Combining the general fund and the $175 million allocated to the CNMI in the American Rescue Plan Act, the CNMI government will have at its disposal a total of $278,384,323 for government operations in fiscal year 2022.
Manglona, who is the chairperson of the House’s conference committee, said yesterday that he intends to give House members at the session a breakdown of what went on during the conference committee’s meeting last Friday.
He said the changes made by the conference committee in the budget bill were mentioned prior to having the conference committee’s meeting and shared with the House’s members.
Manglona said the House members already got a picture of some of the concerns that were addressed at the conference committee’s meeting.
He hopes this will pave the way for a smooth adoption of the committee’s “product.”
“We’re ready to answer any questions by other members,” said Manglona, who also chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.
He said they hope that all the House members will agree and are comfortable with the “product” of the conference committee.