Senate Delays Approval of Governor’s $150M Line of Credit for WAPA Payment, Disaster Recovery, Amid Concerns and Deadlines
The decision of the 35th Legislature to delay the approval of Governor Albert Bryan’s $150 million line of credit legislation has raised questions about accountability and transparency in the WAPA bailout. Senators were hesitant to approve the entire $150 million requested by the administration, expressing concerns about the rushed approval process, WAPA’s access to the proposed credit facility, and the legislation’s potential impact on the Senate’s authority to control public finances.
Lawmakers criticized WAPA and the executive branch for holding negotiations without Senate involvement, and for mixing territory recovery projects with the WAPA bailout. Senators suggested they would be more likely to support the recovery portion if it were separate. During the special session, senators expressed the feeling of being rushed and pressured into a decision they perceived as a WAPA bailout without sufficient mechanisms for accountability and transparency.
Despite the testimonies from the government team, which emphasized the urgency of the $45 million payment due on April 14, senators remained skeptical about WAPA’s ability to repay the accessed funds and its commitment to financial stability. They demanded an actionable plan for WAPA’s path to financial stability beyond the summer months.
The Senate unanimously voted to hold the bill until April 14, the same day the $45 million payment is due. Governor Bryan voiced his concern about the delay’s potential negative implications for WAPA’s services and the government’s ability to advance key recovery projects. He stated his commitment to continue working with the Legislature to find a mutually agreeable path forward.