2:41 PM EDT

Madeleine Bordallo, D-GU

Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include additional material on the bill under consideration.

2:41 PM EDT

Madeleine Bordallo, D-GU

Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1595, the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act; and I thank Chairman Nick Rahall and Ranking Member Don Young for their leadership on this issue and their assistance in bringing this bill to the floor today.

I also want to thank Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Chairman John Conyers of the House Committee on the Judiciary for their support of this bill and for their assistance in expediting its consideration today.

H.R. 1595 implements the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission, which was authorized by Public Law 107-333 to review the war claims program for Guam, which Congress provided for following the occupation of Guam from December 8, 1941 to July 21, 1944. The review commission, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, in September of 2003, was mandated to determine whether there was parity of war claims paid to the residents of Guam under the Guam Meritorious Claims

Act as compared with awards made to similarly affected United States citizens or nationals in territory occupied by the Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II.

Further, the review commission was mandated to advise on any additional compensation that may be necessary to compensate the people of Guam for death, personal injury, forced labor, forced march and internment. In accomplishing its task, the review commission held two days of hearings on Guam in December of 2003 to receive testimony from survivors of the occupation of Guam. The review commission also held hearings here in Washington, D.C. and consulted with a panel of experts in this field of

law. The review commission completed its work and reported to Congress its findings and recommendations on June 9, 2004. The review commission found that there was a lack of parity between the war claims program authorized for Guam versus the programs authorized for all other Americans similarly affected and recommended that Congress remedy this injustice.

I want to quote the first finding of the review commission's report for the benefit of all of my colleagues: ``The review commission finds that there is a moral obligation on the part of our national government to pay compensation for war damages in order to ensure to the extent possible that no single individual or group of individuals bears more than a just part of the overall burden of war.''

[Time: 14:45]

Today, Mr. Speaker, we consider a bill that would fulfill this moral obligation on the part of our National Government to a group of citizens, the people of Guam, most of whom were indigenous Chamorros, who bore the burden of a brutal occupation. The people of Guam were brutalized through public executions, beheadings, rape and severe injury, forced labor, forced march and internment in concentration camps.

H.R. 1595 is called the Loyalty Recognition Act because the loyalty of the people of Guam to the United States during this 32-month enemy occupation should be honored. It is a tragic injustice of history that, following liberation, Congress did not provide for war [Page: H4497]

claims for the people of Guam in the same manner and with the same opportunities that were afforded to other Americans.

The people who carried a disproportionate burden of the war were given less than other Americans when it came time to make our Nation whole, and those who gave more in blood got less in recognition. Over and over at the hearings on Guam, people said, ``We just want to be recognized. We just want to be treated with respect. We just want to receive the same restitution that other Americans received.''

I want to acknowledge the excellent work of the Guam War Claims Review Commission chaired by Mauricio Tamargo, with Members Robert Lagomarsino, a former Member of Congress; Ms. Ruth Van Cleve, Director of the Office of Territories in the Department of Interior; former Chief Justice Ben Benjamin J. Cruz of the Guam Supreme Court; and Senator Antonio Unpingco of the Guam legislature. Their report provided the basis for today's bill, and their contributions are greatly appreciated.

I also want to acknowledge the efforts of my predecessors to bring the war claims issue to the attention of Congress, beginning with our very first Delegate to Congress, the late Mr. Antonio B. Won Pat, followed by the efforts of our second Delegate to Congress, retired Marine Brigadier General Ben Blaz, who is here with us today on the floor to witness this discussion, and my immediate predecessor, Congressman Robert A. Underwood, whose legislation in the 107th Congress created the review commission.

Our work today, and the historic progress of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, is possible only because of the foundation that each of these contributed to this bipartisan effort.

The issue of Guam war claims has been studied and examined by this body over the past 24 years. Several hearings have been held, and the record is replete with testimony from survivors, legal experts, historians and scholars. Committee staff members have played a valuable role in this process by ensuring the right questions were asked, that Members were briefed, and that the issue was thoroughly examined.

I want to thank Jim Zoia, Staff Director of the Natural Resources Committee, and Tony Babauta, Staff Director of the Insular Affairs Subcommittee. Tony is a Chamorro from Guam, whose insights have been invaluable. I also acknowledge the counsels to the committee, Jeff Petrich, Brian Modeste, Lisa Pittman and Rich Stanton, who have worked very hard on this legislation.

This afternoon, we stand on the brink of a historic moment for the people of Guam. I regret, Mr. Speaker, that many survivors of the occupation of Guam did not live to see this day, and I fear that some will pass away before this bill completes its legislative journey. But we have this moment to recall why we fight this fight, on whose behalf we are speaking today and why it is so vitally important to our Nation that we recognize the incredible sacrifices of the people of Guam during World War

II.

I very much doubt that any foreign power will ever again occupy American soil and place American citizens under subjugation. The story of the people of Guam will thus be a unique story, less known than the bombing of Pearl Harbor and other heroic stories of World War II. It is a story of faith in our Nation, of hope in our God and of love for our families.

If I could vote, Mr. Speaker, on final passage of this bill, it would be my greatest honor to recognize the people of Guam by voting to pass this bill. But since I cannot vote as a Delegate, I offer all of my colleagues the honor of recognizing their fellow Americans and passing this bill today.

God bless Guam. God bless the United States of America.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:49 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 3rd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions). All time yielded during consideration of the rule is for debate only.

I yield myself such time as I may consume and I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. I also ask unanimous consent that all Members be given 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks on House Resolution 370.

2:49 PM EDT

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, the majority has adequately explained the bill, and we have no further comment.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:50 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1595, the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act. I commend my good friend and colleague, the gentlelady from Guam, for introducing this legislation designed to address the lack of parity in the war claims paid to the residents of the people of Guam as compared to other U.S. citizens or nationals who were similarly affected during World War II.

Mr. Speaker, every Guam Delegate to Congress has spoken about the deficiencies in making Guam whole after World War II. Our former colleagues Antonio Won Pat, General Ben Blaz, and former Congressman Robert Underwood had raised the issue throughout their service in the Congress.

Through the efforts of Congressman Robert Underwood, a commission was established in the 107th Congress to review the historical record of addressing Guam's war claims. After completing its work, the Guam War Claims Review Commission found that a lack of parity existed in the case of war claims for the people of Guam.

These were some of the key findings of the commission:

That the U.S. has a moral obligation to pay proper compensation for war damages.

That there is a lack of parity in war claims for Guam when compared to other war claims programs established by the U.S. Congress.

That Guam was erroneously excluded from coverage under Title II of the War Claims Act.

This legislation is vitally important because it addresses these long-standing inequities against the people of Guam by implementing the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission. It recognizes the sacrifices made by the people of Guam and their steadfast loyalty to the United States in the face of this adversity. It allows claims for death, personal injury, forced labor, forced marches and internment. It allows compensation to certain survivors of the deceased from the war; and

it authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to award grants in support of activities to remember Guam's occupation.

I strongly support this legislation.

I submit to my colleagues, our Nation committed a grave injustice some 60 years ago against the people of Guam. For some unknown and mysterious reason, Mr. Speaker, the native Guamanians, who are U.S. Nationals, U.S. Nationals, meaning owing permanent allegiance to the United States, were not evacuated along with U.S. citizens at the time that they were living in Guam before the arrival of the Japanese forces.

As a result, these patriotic Americans were left to fend for themselves, to contend with the Japanese takeover of the territory of Guam, and for nearly 3 years, the people of Guam were interned and were subjected to extreme tortures, even executions by public, beatings, rapes, forced labor, forced marches.

A good example is right here in our midst, Mr. Speaker, my good friend and former Member of Congress representing the territory of Guam, retired Brigadier General Ben Blaz, at that time was a youth and was part of this forced evacuation. He personally witnessed some of the atrocities that were committed against his people by Japanese military forces.

Our former colleague, Congressman Bob Underwood, also reiterated to our colleagues that some of his close relatives were beheaded in the presence of other people of Guam when this took place for some 3 years, some 3 years. And I can never forget the words echoed by my good friend, the general from Guam, when he said this, ``we are equal in war but not in peace.''

Why, for the life of me, Mr. Speaker, it has taken all these years in simply trying to make this inequity fair and just for the benefit of the people of Guam I do not understand. It is as if these people were aliens or not members of the American family. We have had Guam for how many years? It was a territory of the United States, and this is what we did against these good people of Guam at the time of the war. Why we never evacuated them along with other U.S. citizens to this day is still a

question. Why the Navy never [Page: H4498]

took them out of there before the arrival of the Japanese.

I appeal to my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, that we pass this bill. It is long overdue. For the sake of justice, pass this legislation. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Again, I thank the good lady from Guam for her leadership and sponsorship of this bill.

2:56 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, it has been said among some of the critics of this legislation, saying that the people of Guam were properly compensated already. I am sure the gentlelady has the correct information so that we can inform our colleagues this is not true.

The way the whole thing has been presented, the procedures that were followed and the war claims that were made for the U.S. citizens left out the people of Guam. For some reason or another, I think our colleagues need to understand this a little more clearly.

POINT OF ORDER

2:56 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, it has been said among some of the critics of this legislation, saying that the people of Guam were properly compensated already. I am sure the gentlelady has the correct information so that we can inform our colleagues this is not true.

The way the whole thing has been presented, the procedures that were followed and the war claims that were made for the U.S. citizens left out the people of Guam. For some reason or another, I think our colleagues need to understand this a little more clearly.

POINT OF ORDER

2:56 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, it has been said among some of the critics of this legislation, saying that the people of Guam were properly compensated already. I am sure the gentlelady has the correct information so that we can inform our colleagues this is not true.

The way the whole thing has been presented, the procedures that were followed and the war claims that were made for the U.S. citizens left out the people of Guam. For some reason or another, I think our colleagues need to understand this a little more clearly.

POINT OF ORDER

2:57 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I understood that she had not yielded her time. With 7 minutes remaining, I requested that there be a colloquy between myself and the gentlelady from Guam. Is there anything wrong with that?

2:57 PM EDT

Madeleine Bordallo, D-GU

Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield, in answer to the questions raised, let me just put it this way: There are several categories in the bill to pay for compensation. One is for living survivors of the occupation; $15,000 for rape or severe personal injury, such as loss of limb, dismemberment or paralysis; $12,000 for forced labor or personal injury that is less severe in nature, such as disfigurement, scaring or burns; $10,000 for forced march, internment or hiding to evade

internment.

Category two is for death claims, $25,000 to a spouse or children of a Guamanian who died during the occupation.

Category three for descendants of deceased survivors; $7,000 to descendants of injured or interned survivors who have passed away, irrespective of the injury or the harm sustained.

The total of this legislation, we are asking $126 million for claims and $5 million for grants for the Department of Interior to promote activities related to the occupation.

Also another question, if I could answer, why is the U.S. paying for this instead of Japan? The United States inherited the obligation of reparations due to the treaty of peace with Japan which ended hostilities with Japan. It is the standard practice that citizens make claims to their own government arising from hostilities. It is the responsibility of the United States to make the people of Guam whole. Guamanians were U.S. nationals at the time of the occupation by Japan.