OEK committees wrestle riders in conference
State block grants, retiree cola payments and visa fee at stake
By: L.N. Reklai
Implementation of State block grants for 2017 and $50 dollar SS cola payment to retirees is in question as House bill 9-203-22s, HD1,SD3 goes to Conference Committee of both houses of OEK.
According to Speaker Sabino Anastacio of the House of Delegates, state block grants and Social Security cola payment are being held hostage by the visa rider added to the House bill 9-203-22s, HD1, SD3. [restrict]
The bill which seeks to increase term of validity for official passport, carries important riders.
The riders include a language to specify that when Continuing Budget Resolution authorized by RPPL 9-62 takes effect on October 1, 2016, state block grants will continue to be issued to the States and the $50 dollars Social Security cola payment will continue to be disbursed to retirees.
Additional rider to the same bill is the language reinstating the visa fee requirement and changing the date for collecting Environmental Impact Fee back to October 1, 2016 from April 1, 2017.
The first two riders need to be clarified because it was not clear under the Continuing Budget Resolution language of the RPPL 9-62 if state block grants and SS cola payment will continue or not.
Amendment to reinstate what was repealed under RPPL 9-62, the visa requirement and date of Environmental Impact Fee collection, can’t be agreed to by the House.
Conference Committee made up of members Ways & Means of both House and Senate have 4 days to resolve the matter before the end of the regular session.
If no resolution is agreed to by the end of the regular session, States will not be receiving their block grants and retirees will not be receiving the $50 payment they’ve been receiving this past year, come October 1, 2016. [/restrict]