Trump OK’s 3,000 construction CWs

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PRESIDENT Donald Trump on Friday signed into law H.R. 1865, or the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill that includes U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan’s Disaster Recovery Workforce Act.

Kilili’s measure will allow 3,000 CNMI-Only Transitional Work permits for construction jobs for three years only. He said the CWs could not replace U.S. workers or undercut wages.

He said the CW permits will be available for typhoon recovery work in the current fiscal year and in 2021 and 2022.

In an earlier statement he said: “We are going to have to make a temporary change in the law if we want to rebuild our schools and other public infrastructure and replace roofs and repair damage to homes, as quickly as possible.”

He added, “With $244 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery monies now allocated for the Marianas, as well as the $56 million for solid waste, $10.2 million for sewer and water infrastructure, and Economic Development Administration grants to rebuild schools, homes, and our economy that I made available for the Marianas in this June’s disaster relief law, the last thing we want is any delay caused by a lack of workers.”

He said the enactment of his Disaster Recovery Workforce Act “ensures that will not be a problem. And all the protections for U.S. workers that we wrote into the U.S. Workforce Act last year — from being passed over for jobs to having their wages reduced by competition from foreign workers — will apply to the new disaster recovery workers.”

Kilili’s bill states: “Notwithstanding any numerical cap set forth in subparagraph (B) for each of fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall increase by 3,000, for each such fiscal year, the total number of permits available under this subsection for Construction and Extraction Occupations.”

Also included in the new federal law is the $120 million Medicaid funding for the CNMI.PRESIDENT Donald Trump on Friday signed into law H.R. 1865, or the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill that includes U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan’s Disaster Recovery Workforce Act.

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