2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act increases funding for US Territories
On Friday March 23, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act. This new spending budget spans across multiple budget areas, funding federal government operations for the remainder of the fiscal year (which ends on September 30, 2018).
The Omnibus act also, rejects President Trump’s proposal to cut the budget for United States territories by 18%; it does in fact increase funding for the US territories:
- In discretionary federal assistance grants from the US Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, the funding increased from $16.784 million in 2017 to $18.0 million in 2018. President Trump’s budget had requested for $14.671 million in this area.
- As for discretionary federal reimbursement for Compact impact in Guam, the funding has increased from $3 million in 2017 to $4 million in 2018. This funding helps host jurisdictions in the cost of accommodating citizens from freely associated states. This funding is separate from the $30 million mandatory Compact impact reimbursement between Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa each year. President Trump’s budget had proposed to eliminate the discretionary Compact impact reimbursement to Guam all together.
- There was a $950,000 increase in federal funding for the Office of Insular Affairs’ Coral Reef initiative to help protect Guam’s coral reefs. In 2017, funding was at $1.25 million. In 2018, it will be at $2.2 million. President Trump’s budget had requested just $946,000 for this sector.
Under the Omnibus, funding has been maintained for the Office of Insular Affairs’ program to compact the invasive brown tree snake on Guam at $3.5 million.
The Omnibus spending bill is also of particular importance to Guam, who is in a fiscal crisis created by the federal tax cuts that resulted in a $67 million shortfall for the territory.
Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D) of Guam said in a statement: “I continue working in Congress to bring federal resources to Guam to improve the lives of all our residents. The people of Guam are Americans, and we deserve nothing less than equal, full support from our federal government.”