The CROSS Act (Coronavirus Relief One Stop Shop), a law passed in 2020 to help those whose jobs and businesses were affected by coronavirus pandemic is expected to die in the Senate, according to report made by Palau Wave Radio after talking with Senate President Hokkons Baules.
In December, President Remengesau Jr. submitted a bill extending the life of Section 3 of the CROSS Act allowing the financial assistance for businesses and unemployment to continue until September 30, 2021. The bill was also supported by the incoming president-elect Surangel Whipps Jr.
This week, House of Delegates passed the bill in 3 readings within a week and submitted to Senate for action.
According to report from Palau Wave Radio, Senate committee met to discuss the bill and the sentiment was to let the next government address the issue.
President-elect Whipps during a press conference on Wednesday said that he had supported the bill but his expectation was that it could be easily amended to just reflect assistance to Palauans. “Regulations will take time. The fastest way to make amendments is through the legislative process. The bill could be further improved and it should not take too long,” added Whipps.
Whipps added that 3,000 plus people will be without jobs after January 31st. About 1,200 are foreigners and over 1,800 are locals. He said that those Palauans could be put to work replacing the 1,200 foreign workers that are being subsidized or employed by the government under the job placement program under CROSS Act.
CROSS Act can be amended to reflect these changes through legislative act faster than through the APA process. He added that work to improve the bill can happen now and submitted as new bill when the new government take office. Many of the incumbents in both House and the Senate were re-elected to the 12th government.