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Congressional Hearing to Link Puerto Rico’s Economy and Status

Congress has held numerous hearing over many years to consider Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory, but Wednesday’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular Affairs and Native Alaskan Affairs to examine the link between Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems and its territorial status represents the first time Congress will examine the island’s economic challenges within the context of status.

As previously reported, the Subcommittee will be holding a hearing on Wednesday, June 24, entitled, “Examining procedures regarding Puerto Rico’s political status and economic outlook.”

Puerto Rico’s territorial status renders it unable to take advantage of opportunities available to foreign countries and U.S. states, providing a hurdle in addressing its current financial and economic problems.

One tool available to states but not Puerto Rico is Chapter 9 of the Federal bankruptcy code, which enables financially distressed municipalities, such at cities and counties, to create a plan with its creditors to resolve the outstanding debt.  Legislation pending before the House of Representatives would provide Puerto Rican municipalities the same access to Chapter 9 that those in states have.

As Angelo Falcón, President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP), recently pointed out: “While most of the attention in Puerto Rico’s case focuses on technical issues relating to the solvency of municipal bonds and austerity measures, the history of U.S. policies that have resulted in more than three and a half million Puerto Ricans being treated as second class citizens goes largely ignored. Puerto Rico, which is consistently shortchanged in the federal budget, is currently facing looming Medicare cuts while the states receive increases-and this in spite of the fact that the people of Puerto Rico have carried the full load of payroll taxes for the program!”

Falcón concludes that “Puerto Rico’s current fiscal crisis is, in this sense, really a crisis of American colonial policies. Will the United States accept responsibility for the negative consequences of its imperialist past? The irony would be if it is the Puerto Rican diaspora that finally makes the United States’ accountable on this issue.”

The Puerto Rican population in the 50 states currently exceeds that of Puerto Rico.  The state-based population has increased most significantly in recent years in Florida, where close to one million Puerto Ricans live.  Florida is poised to play a critical role in the 2016 presidential campaign.  Roughly half of the Florida Puerto Rican population lives in Central Florida, an area that has been referred to “the swing part of the swing state.”

Witnesses for the hearing have not yet been announced.

4 thoughts on “Congressional Hearing to Link Puerto Rico’s Economy and Status”

  1. It will be interesting to see just how the morally corrupt self titled “[Popular]Democrat Party” (Populist Democratic Party for Territory) defends the unequal colonial arrangement.
    Expect them to do the usual denigrating of Puerto Ricans as [incapable and unprepared] of surviving as a state.
    The hypocrites will repeat the myth that PR culture will “die” off under STATEHOOD – YET THEY WERE JUST IN THE NYC PR PARADE LAST WEEK WITH 3 MILLION NEWYORRICANS WHO WERE MIRACULOUSLY PR ENOUGH TO PANDER TO! (Note how they no longer bash independence,which they now call “sovereignty”.
    I hope governor Padilla speaks. His broken incoherent english was epic entertainment.

  2. Anyone who says PR is not ready to be a state, or is incapable of being a state is just flat out lying. PR is far more capable, far more advanced, and far more valuable as a state that most of the current 50 states were when they were first admitted. It is my belief that the only thing that could keep PR from being a great state, would be if the people of PR voted to become an independent nation. While this would be a great loss to the US, I think that PR would be a decent country of it’s own. So it’s time the question was put to a vote once and for all.

  3. I believe PR would be a 1st world nation. (Its 1st world now as a US Territory despite being poor by US standards.)
    That’s where the issue arises.
    Puerto Rico has 500,000 illegal immigrants from Dominican Republic and Haitians claiming to be “Dominicans”.
    This is in addition to another 500,000 legal or ducumented Dominicans.

    The PPD spreads the falsehood that as a US state,Puerto Rico will lose its “idiosyncrasies “-Gov Padilla (D-PDP)
    They claim english will gradually supplant spanish. Let’s adress this. I’m sure a sociologist or historian can do a better job,nonetheless I see no one else doing it.

    The Irish went from speaking natish Irish (a Gealic tongue) to English under ENGLISH domination. They had no choice on the matter! The king of England made it a punishable offense to teach Irish.

    Did the Irish culture die? CONTRAIRE! IT BLOOMED! All stories,fables,traditions were rewritten in English.

    The same is seen in ALL white Ethnic groups in the USA such as Italians,Irish,Jews,Greeks,and to lesser extent,German and French Americans who melted early on into the founding people’s of the US,British Canada,and Quebec.

    Of course the largest heritage that linguistically includes us all (Including Blacks) is Anglo Saxon Culture. The cultural core or the United States,just as Spanish is the core or Latin America.

    I was born in New Jersey,Lifelong Newark-NYC metropolitan Resident. I think in english.
    I speak English as first language, yet I speak and read spanish as well [Para que tu lo sepas si tienes alguna duda.]

    Of the 5 million Puerto Ricans stateside, a majority are born in the states AND ONLY SPEAK ENGLISH. YET THEY WAVE THAT PR FLAG AND SHOW MORE PR PRIDE IN 5TH AVE. NYC,than many armchair Puerto Rican nationalists!

    Its not Governor Padilla’s business what language I choose to speak!
    Further, if mainland born Puerto Ricans like myself speak Spanish in NJ,NY,IL or any other state, HOW THE HECK WILL IT BE ‘LOST’IN PUERTO RICO?


    1. Continued.
      If Independence is forced upon 3.4 million US citizens,THEY WILL FLEE TO THE MAINLAND.
      This opens the door to majority Dominican Puerto Rico.
      An independent PR will still have a first world infrastructure, neatly arranged neighborhoods, a legacy of NIOSH/OSHA US zoning. It is paradise compared to the shanty towns. Of corse the illegals in PR already have shanties on the hills of Aguadilla and Loiza. They are few and far between but statehood opponents search for the nearest “LA Perla” to use as their cover story picture.

      The only status that preserves PR for all Americans (hispanic or not), & Puerto Rican Americans wishing to retire in their childhood island,is STATEHOOD.

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