Obama opposes funding restrictions to Guam buildup

Bernadette Carreon – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Guam, United States (4E) – PRESIDENT Barack Obama opposed the funding restrictions in the National Defense Authorization Act before the U.S. Senate that would limit his ability to implement realignment of U.S. Forces from Okinawa to Japan.

According to the administration’s “Statement of Administration Policy,” the funding restriction would unnecessarily limit the ability and flexibility of President Obama to execute foreign and defense policies with Japan

Obama has said that the restriction on the use of funds could affect the new plan to relocate Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

A statement issued by the White House mentions the lack of an appropriations authorization to upgrade the decades-old fuel pipeline stretching from Apra Harbor to Andersen Air Force Base.

“The reduction of $233 million would impede the implementation of our new defense strategy, which calls for an increased focus on the Asia-Pacific region,” according to the statement.

“The Administration strongly objects to the limitations imposed by section 2208 on the obligation and expenditure of United States and Government of Japan funds to implement the realignment of the U.S. Marine Corps units from Okinawa, to which the United States remains steadfastly committed. The provision would unnecessarily restrict the ability and flexibility of the President to execute our foreign and defense policies with our ally, Japan,” the statement added.

The Senate version of the 2013 NDAA is being considered on the Senate floor this week. If it passes, a Conference Committee will be called to reconcile the Senate and House versions.

Meanwhile Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has issued a statement applauding the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

Bordallo also took Obama’s position in opposing the funding restrictions.

“This statement from the Obama Administration reinforces what I have long said—that it is in the best interests of our national security and our bilateral relations with Japan to restart, in earnest, the military realignment of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam,” said Congresswoman Bordallo.

“We are at a critical time in the buildup, and further obstructions in obligating and executing these funds send the wrong message to our allies in the region and to Japan, which has already made a significant investment in the relocation of U.S. Marines.” Bordallo added

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