Voting No on the override of the Governor's veto of the budget:
Joseph James Norita Camacho--no reason given*; he'd voted for this budget when it was originally passed.
Stanley T. Torres--abstained; "I was not ready to vote yet because I just got in when they had a roll call. I would have voted yes to the override."
Justo S. Quitugua--no reason given; he'd voted for this budget when it was originally passed.
Edwin P. Aldan-no reason given; he was absent when the budget was originally passed.
Oscar M. Babauta--he'd voted against the budget when it passed because he supports Governor Fitial's call for austerity Fridays, so presumably he objects to the override for the same reason. He also said, when questioned about his reasons, that he recommended that the House of Representatives "move on" to more pressing concerns.
Raymond D. Palacios--no reason given; he'd voted for this budget when it was originally passed.
Victor B. Hocog--he voted for the budget when it passed, but voted against the budget veto override because the Governor telephoned him threatening to furlough contractual workers, especially in Rota and Tinian.
David M. Apatang--absent; he'd voted for this budget when it was originally passed.
1. Rep. Babauta--There are no more pressing concerns. We need a budget immediately. We need to stop discretionary spending, stop uncontrolled deficit spending, stop irresponsible-no account needed spending. Your support of austerity Fridays is a sham to hide the fact that you really support this governor having unlimited power. A budget, even without austerity Fridays, puts in more fiscal controls and restraints than the phantom austerity Fridays you pretend to hold out for.
2. Rep. Torres--Why were you late? You needed to be ready and present from the start. You have a responsibility and need to live up to it. This is probably the lamest excuse from a legislator to date--and that's really saying something given all the lame excuses we've heard over the past year from you and your colleagues.
3. Rep. Hocog--Where is your backbone? Stand up to the Governor and vote for what is right. The CNMI needs a budget. You are concerned about contractual employees in Rota. Why does the CNMI have so many government employees who are not civil service? Why do we have so many ordinary citizens in political appointments and contractual jobs that are subject to political pressure tactics? We cannot be hostages to our leaders. And you, as a "leader" should not be bowing to political pressure and caving in to threats of job losses when you actually supported this budget to begin with.
4. Rep. Camacho--Although you gave no excuse on the record in the House, you explain your reasons on your website. Basically, you say your change of mind relates to separation of powers, because the budget contains a provision that requires Legislative approval of any and all new hires. You say you originally voted for the budget because this provision can be viewed as merely ministerial (an administrative function), but now that the Governor says it violates the Constitution, you must respect the Governor's interpretation.
This is a lame excuse. The budget as passed--HB 16-213--contains at sec. 801 a "severability" clause, basically saying that if any one provision is unconstitutional, it shall be severed from the law and the rest remain in effect.
You should have voted to override the veto. Then we would have a budget. If the provision is challenged and the court rules it unconstitutional (neither a sure bet), we still have a budget and the constitution is upheld by severing it from the rest of the law.
Stop trying to confuse the electorate with make-believe justifications. This is nothing but a lame excuse and a poor one at that. I suspect this excuse masks other political motivations. Be honest with us.
5. Rep. Quitugua--What does it mean to be a member of the Democrat party? What possible explanation could you reasonably give for voting against the veto override? I suspect your vote has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with your personal politics and limited vision.
6. Rep. Palacios--I understand that you voted this time with your party. I don't agree with you or your party. I hope Covenant loses resoundingly in the next election.
7. Rep. Apatang--Why did you miss this session? I understand that you may be sick. You didn't look good today when I saw you at the memorial service for the Honorable Marty W. K. Taylor. I hope you get well soon.
WE STILL NEED A BUDGET!