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US House panel approves Bordallo’s Compact Impact amendments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the Guam Congressional Delegate) — U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam offered three amendments relating to Compact impact and national service programs during a mark-up hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Her amendments were adopted unanimously during the committee’s consideration of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act of 2017 or H.R.2987, which would expand national service programs for volunteering in federal public lands, including Guam’s War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and Guam National Wildlife Refuge (Ritidian Unit). The bill now goes to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

Madeleine Z. BordalloMadeleine Z. Bordallo

Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendments would make Compact migrants residing on Guam, Hawaii, and other states/territories eligible to participate in federally funded national and community service programs, including AmeriCorps and the Youth Conservation Corps. These national service programs provide opportunities for youth and volunteers of all ages to engage in community service while also learning valuable job skills. Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendments were from her Compact Impact Relief Act or H.R.4761, which she reintroduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Promoting community service and volunteerism has long been a priority for Congresswoman Bordallo. She has worked with other members of Congress from the Pacific Islands and Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz of 34th Guam Legislature, to extend federal national and community service programs to Guam. In 2015, the congresswoman sponsored the National Community Service Improvement Act, which was included in the congresswoman’s amendments adopted by the Natural Resources Committee. Congresswoman Bordallo is a senior Democratic member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

“Compact migrants have made valuable contributions to our community. My amendments ensure that they have the same opportunity to roll up their sleeves and volunteer in our community, just like other Guam residents. Specifically these amendments make Compact migrants eligible for national community service programs and open another avenue for them to give back to our community while learning valuable skills that could lead to a full-time job. I thank Speaker Cruz for working closely with me over the years and for his consistent support on this important issue for our island,” said Congresswoman Bordallo.

Said Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, “Every person willing to work for it deserves the opportunity to better their lives while improving the lives of others. I thank the Congresswoman for her continued work on matters relating to the Compact of Free Association and I am certain that passage of these amendments will demonstrate that a hand-up is always better than a hand-out.”

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, some 110 Guam residents participated in federally funded service programs between 2016 and 2017. Since 1994, more than 1,300 Guam residents completed an estimated 1.7 million hours total of community service under these federal programs, qualifying those residents for $4.12 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, in recognition of their exemplary volunteerism. The Serve Guam Commission coordinates the federal AmeriCorps program and grant funding to support local nonprofits and provide volunteers. If enacted into law, Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendments will make Compact migrant eligible to participate in these programs.