Text: H.R.44 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (01/03/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 44


To implement the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 3, 2013

Ms. Bordallo (for herself, Mr. Andrews, Mrs. Christensen, Mr. Faleomavaega, Ms. Norton, Mr. Pierluisi, Mr. Rahall, Mr. Sablan, Mr. Young of Alaska, Mr. Hoyer, and Mr. Michaud) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources


A BILL

To implement the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act”.

SEC. 2. Recognition of the suffering and loyalty of the residents of Guam.

(a) Recognition of the Suffering of the Residents of Guam.—The United States recognizes that, as described by the Guam War Claims Review Commission, the residents of Guam, on account of their United States nationality, suffered unspeakable harm as a result of the occupation of Guam by Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II, by being subjected to death, rape, severe personal injury, personal injury, forced labor, forced march, or internment.

(b) Recognition of the Loyalty of the Residents of Guam.—The United States forever will be grateful to the residents of Guam for their steadfast loyalty to the United States, as demonstrated by the countless acts of courage they performed despite the threat of death or great bodily harm they faced at the hands of the Imperial Japanese military forces that occupied Guam during World War II.

SEC. 3. Guam World War II Claims Fund.

(a) Establishment of fund.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall establish in the Treasury of the United States a special fund (in this Act referred to as the “Claims Fund”) for the payment of claims submitted by compensable Guam victims and survivors of compensable Guam decedents in accordance with sections 4 and 5.

(b) Composition of fund.—The Claims Fund established under subsection (a) shall be composed of amounts deposited into the Claims Fund under subsection (c).

(c) Payment of certain duties, taxes, and fees collected from Guam deposited into fund.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding section 30 of the Organic Act of Guam (48 U.S.C. 1421h), the excess of—

(A) any amount of duties, taxes, and fees collected under such section after fiscal year 2012, over

(B) the amount of duties, taxes, and fees collected under such section during fiscal year 2012,

shall be deposited into the Claims Fund.

(2) APPLICATION.—Paragraph (1) shall not apply after the date for which the Secretary of the Treasury determines that all payments required to be made under section 4 have been made.

(d) Limitation on payments made from fund.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—No payment may be made in a fiscal year under section 4 until funds are deposited into the Claims Fund in such fiscal year under subsection (c).

(2) AMOUNTS.—For each fiscal year in which funds are deposited into the Claims Fund under subsection (c), the total amount of payments made in a fiscal year under section 4 may not exceed the amount of funds available in the Claims Fund for such fiscal year.

(e) Deductions from fund for administrative expenses.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall deduct from any amounts deposited into the Claims Fund an amount equal to 5 per cent of such amounts as reimbursement to the Federal Government for expenses incurred by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission and by the Department of the Treasury in the administration of this Act. The amounts so deducted shall be covered into the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.

SEC. 4. Payments for Guam World War II claims.

(a) Payments for Death, Personal Injury, Forced Labor, Forced March, and Internment.—After the Secretary of the Treasury receives the certification from the Chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission as required under section 4(b)(8), the Secretary of the Treasury shall make payments to compensable Guam victims and survivors of a compensable Guam decedents as follows:

(1) COMPENSABLE GUAM VICTIM.—Before making any payments under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall make payments to compensable Guam victims as follows:

(A) In the case of a victim who has suffered an injury described in subsection (c)(2)(A), $15,000.

(B) In the case of a victim who is not described in subparagraph (A), but who has suffered an injury described in subsection (c)(2)(B), $12,000.

(C) In the case of a victim who is not described in subparagraph (A) or (B), but who has suffered an injury described in subsection (c)(2)(C), $10,000.

(2) SURVIVORS OF COMPENSABLE GUAM DECEDENTS.—In the case of a compensable Guam decedent, the Secretary shall pay $25,000 for distribution to survivors of the decedent in accordance with subsection (b). The Secretary shall make payments under this paragraph only after all payments are made under paragraph (1).

(b) Distribution of Survivor Payments.—A payment made under subsection (a)(2) to the survivors of a compensable Guam decedent shall be distributed as follows:

(1) In the case of a decedent whose spouse is living as of the date of the enactment of this Act, but who had no living children as of such date, the payment shall be made to such spouse.

(2) In the case of a decedent whose spouse is living as of the date of the enactment of this Act and who had one or more living children as of such date, 50 percent of the payment shall be made to the spouse and 50 percent shall be made to such children, to be divided among such children to the greatest extent possible into equal shares.

(3) In the case of a decedent whose spouse is not living as of the date of the enactment of this Act and who had one or more living children as of such date, the payment shall be made to such children, to be divided among such children to the greatest extent possible into equal shares.

(4) In the case of a decedent whose spouse is not living as of the date of the enactment of this Act and who had no living children as of such date, but who—

(A) had a parent who is living as of such date, the payment shall be made to the parent; or

(B) had two parents who are living as of such date, the payment shall be divided equally between the parents.

(5) In the case of a decedent whose spouse is not living as of the date of the enactment of this Act, who had no living children as of such date, and who had no parents who are living as of such date, no payment shall be made.

(c) Definitions.—For purposes of this Act:

(1) COMPENSABLE GUAM DECEDENT.—The term “compensable Guam decedent” means an individual determined under section 5 to have been a resident of Guam who died as a result of the attack and occupation of Guam by Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II, or incident to the liberation of Guam by United States military forces, and whose death would have been compensable under the Guam Meritorious Claims Act of 1945 (Public Law 79–224) if a timely claim had been filed under the terms of such Act.

(2) COMPENSABLE GUAM VICTIM.—The term “compensable Guam victim” means an individual who is not deceased as of the date of the enactment of this Act and who is determined under section 5 to have suffered, as a result of the attack and occupation of Guam by Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II, or incident to the liberation of Guam by United States military forces, any of the following:

(A) Rape or severe personal injury (such as loss of a limb, dismemberment, or paralysis).

(B) Forced labor or a personal injury not under subparagraph (A) (such as disfigurement, scarring, or burns).

(C) Forced march, internment, or hiding to evade internment.

(3) DEFINITIONS OF SEVERE PERSONAL INJURIES AND PERSONAL INJURIES.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall promulgate regulations to specify the injuries that constitute a severe personal injury or a personal injury for purposes of subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively, of paragraph (2).

SEC. 5. Adjudication.

(a) Authority of Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall adjudicate claims and determine the eligibility of individuals for payments under section 4.

(2) RULES AND REGULATIONS.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall publish in the Federal Register such rules and regulations as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out the functions of the Commission under this Act.

(b) Claims Submitted for Payments.—

(1) SUBMITTAL OF CLAIM.—For purposes of subsection (a)(1) and subject to paragraph (2), the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission may not determine an individual is eligible for a payment under section 4 unless the individual submits to the Commission a claim in such manner and form and containing such information as the Commission specifies.

(2) FILING PERIOD FOR CLAIMS AND NOTICE.—

(A) FILING PERIOD.—An individual filing a claim for a payment under section 4 shall file such claim not later than one year after the date on which the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission publishes the notice described in subparagraph (B).

(B) NOTICE OF FILING PERIOD.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall publish a notice of the deadline for filing a claim described in subparagraph (A)—

(i) in the Federal Register; and

(ii) in newspaper, radio, and television media in Guam.

(3) ADJUDICATORY DECISIONS.—The decision of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission on each claim filed under this Act shall—

(A) be by majority vote;

(B) be in writing;

(C) state the reasons for the approval or denial of the claim; and

(D) if approved, state the amount of the payment awarded and the distribution, if any, to be made of the payment.

(4) DEDUCTIONS IN PAYMENT.—The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall deduct, from a payment made to a compensable Guam victim or survivors of a compensable Guam decedent under this section, amounts paid to such victim or survivors under the Guam Meritorious Claims Act of 1945 (Public Law 79–224) before the date of the enactment of this Act.

(5) INTEREST.—No interest shall be paid on payments made by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under section 4.

(6) LIMITED COMPENSATION FOR PROVISION OF REPRESENTATIONAL SERVICES.—

(A) LIMIT ON COMPENSATION.—Any agreement under which an individual who provided representational services to an individual who filed a claim for a payment under this Act that provides for compensation to the individual who provided such services in an amount that is more than one percent of the total amount of such payment shall be unlawful and void.

(B) PENALTIES.—Whoever demands or receives any compensation in excess of the amount allowed under subparagraph (A) shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(7) APPEALS AND FINALITY.—Objections and appeals of decisions of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall be to the Commission, and upon rehearing, the decision in each claim shall be final, and not subject to further review by any court or agency.

(8) CERTIFICATIONS FOR PAYMENT.—After a decision approving a claim becomes final, the Chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall certify such decision to the Secretary of the Treasury for authorization of a payment under section 4.

(9) TREATMENT OF AFFIDAVITS.—For purposes of section 4 and subject to paragraph (2), the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission shall treat a claim that is accompanied by an affidavit of an individual that attests to all of the material facts required for establishing the eligibility of such individual for payment under such section as establishing a prima facie case of the eligibility of the individual for such payment without the need for further documentation, except as the Commission may otherwise require. Such material facts shall include, with respect to a claim for a payment made under section 4(a), a detailed description of the injury or other circumstance supporting the claim involved, including the level of payment sought.

(10) RELEASE OF RELATED CLAIMS.—Acceptance of a payment under section 4 by an individual for a claim related to a compensable Guam decedent or a compensable Guam victim shall be in full satisfaction of all claims related to such decedent or victim, respectively, arising under the Guam Meritorious Claims Act of 1945 (Public Law 79–224), the implementing regulations issued by the United States Navy pursuant to such Act (Public Law 79–224), or this Act.

SEC. 6. Grants program to memorialize the occupation of Guam during World War II.

(a) Establishment.—Subject to subsection (b), the Secretary of the Interior shall establish a grant program under which the Secretary shall award grants for research, educational, and media activities for purposes of appropriately illuminating and interpreting the causes and circumstances of the occupation of Guam during World War II and other similar occupations during the war that—

(1) memorialize the events surrounding such occupation; or

(2) honor the loyalty of the people of Guam during such occupation.

(b) Eligibility.—The Secretary of the Interior may not award a grant under subsection (a) unless the person seeking the grant submits an application to the Secretary for such grant, in such time, manner, and form and containing such information as the Secretary specifies.

SEC. 7. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) Guam World War II Claims Payments and Adjudication.—There are authorized to be appropriated for any fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act, such sums as may be necessary to enable the Commission and the Treasury Department to pay their respective administrative expenses incurred in carrying out their functions under sections 4 and 5. Amounts appropriated under this section may remain available until expended.

(b) Guam World War II Grants Program.—For purposes of carrying out section 6, there are authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 for each fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.