Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said he wants to talk with the Legislature on an expenditure plan—which he described as very complex—for the estimated $515 million that’s allocated to the CNMI under the American Rescue Plan Act.
When asked for an update on the expenditure plan at a radio news briefing last Friday, Torres said his administration is still working on it and that he needs to bring in the Legislature.
He said the plan is divided into different categories that will hopefully be issued this week or next week.
“There’s so much complexity, so many subtitles, that we’ve been meeting with the Cabinet members and some of the other branches to look at the subsections or subtitles,” the governor said, adding that there are many opportunities for the government’s many departments to avail of those funds.
Torres said they will be meeting with the Legislature hopefully early this week and that they will go from there.
The governor earlier assured that the Legislature need not be concerned about transparency as he has nothing to hide in the government’s expenditure plan that will be submitted to the federal government.
The House narrowly passed House Bill 22-33 that will give the Legislature appropriation powers over the $515 million, but Torres said there is no need for that legislation.
He said a review of the American Rescue Plan Act shows that it’s expenditure authority lies within the CNMI Treasury and the head of state, in this case, Torres.