Entering the third day of the Fiscal Year 2017, The Senate and House of Delegates are still deadlocked with no agreement in place to restore state government block grants and the $50 monthly supplemental social security benefits.
The national government is operating under a continuing budget authority (CBA) passed into law earlier in July, but the budget didn’t include appropriations for state block grants. Most state governments’ depend on the state block grants allocation as a major source of revenue. The $50 supplemental to the social security benefits are ended on September 30, 2016 and requires an appropriation law to continue with the social program.
Information has emerged that the Senate and the House President Officers have reached a compromise to pass a bill restoring the funding to states the $50 supplemental to the monthly security benefits.
No details of the compromise have been forthcoming, but to avoid any potential legal issue with amending the CBA, President Remengesau will submit a budget request specifically to restore state block grants and the supplemental social security benefits.
Resolving the two fundamental issues have been caught in a dispute between the Senate and the House on two major policies. The Senate has been adamant that any agreement should include the visa fee, which the House has rejected. While the House of Delegates has been clear on its support on the bill to the reopening of claims to public lands, but the senate id on records against it. Despite an agreed conference version reached last week to pass the two controversial measures including visa fee bill and reopening of claims to public lands, the operative bill HB no. 9-209-25S, HD1, SD1, CD1, was immediately rejected by the house after the Senate has approved it.
A session by both houses has been scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10:00 am with the aim of breaking the impasse.