Chair Grijalva Urges President-Elect Biden to Implement Puerto Rico Priorities Quickly, Create Working Group to Advise White House and Congress

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) wrote to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris yesterday urging the rapid implementation of the Biden-Harris Plan for Recovery, Renewal and Respect for Puerto Rico, and to encourage the incoming administration to create a federal working group to offer analysis and expertise to the White House and congressional lawmakers on Puerto Rico financial recovery and reconstruction as soon as possible. The letter, which has not been previously reported, is available online at https://bit.ly/3n7Dtke.

In addition to the creation of a working group, the letter urges:

  • addressing Puerto Rico’s political status and ending the decades-long stalemate over the unpopular status quo;
  • ensuring full recovery from natural disaster damage and rebuilding infrastructure to modern standards;
  • rebuilding the economy and supporting economically at-risk families;
  • providing relief from unsustainable public debt;
  • expanding access to education and workforce development; and
  • asking the Solicitor General to support granting the residents of Puerto Rico access to Supplemental Security Income.

Grijalva notes in the letter that timely relief for Puerto Rico is badly needed:

Puerto Rico has been experiencing an economic crisis for more than a decade; poverty and unemployment rates are much higher in the U.S. Territory compared to the States. Existing federal policies hamper Puerto Rico’s economic growth. With appropriate federal policies, Puerto Rico can develop a healthy and self-sufficient economy, and improve the quality of life of the residents of the island.

The recommendations are consistent with the Biden-Harris redevelopment plan for the island. Chair Grijalva has made Puerto Rico financial recovery and reconstruction a priority during his leadership of the Natural Resources Committee, and visited Puerto Rico twice last year to review disaster damage and the impacts of fiscal austerity.

In May, after a year of working closely with grassroots leaders and elected officials, he introduced the Amendments to PROMESA Act (H.R. 6975) to protect essential public services and sufficiently reduce Puerto Rico’s public debt. 

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