GUAM – Time is running out for Congress to pass a 2011 national budget, which includes $246 million for Guam buildup projects, before the latest stopgap spending measure expires on April 8 and forces a government shutdown. Nonetheless, 2011 military construction projects will move forward, NAVFAC Pacific said.
Already five months into the 2011 fiscal year, the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense which is overseeing the buildup of Guam bases for the transfer of 8,600 Marines from Japan, has been operating on temporary spending allotments while a deep partisan divide in Washington has trapped the budget in stalemate.
Prospects of beating the deadline are not looking good as the Obama administration, the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House continue to disagree. In the meantime, the government has been operating on a temporary extension of last year’s budget since October 1. A shutdown would mean that only “essential services” like the military would keep functioning.
Even without the $246 million just yet, the Navy last week announced that it will release nine military construction projects valued between $800 million and $1.2 billion beginning next month.
Total funds appropriated since 2008 for Guam construction — not including any FY2011 funds from either the U.S. or Japan, which is financing most of the buildup – is $1.2 billion. Of this, the U.S. has so far appropriated $352.7 million (FY08 to FY10) and Japan has contributed $833.8 million (2009 to 2010), according to the Interagency Coordination Group of Inspectors General (ICGIG), which audits Guam buildup funding.
Another $420 million specifically for water, power and wastewater development is expected from Japan on April 1, when the country’s FY2011 national budget should go into effect. Japan has specified that this funding will be conveyed in the form of equity and loans, different from its cash contributions of previous years. Guam buildup officials are still debating methods for receiving and spending the utilities investment, however.
The ICGIG said that the DoD obligated $60.3 million in 2009 and $164.0 million in 2010 for Guam military construction projects. The nine 2011 projects that got the Navy’s green light last week would bring the total obligated expenditure for military construction between $1.02 billion and $1.4 billion.