The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, which was created under a mandate from the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), released a status update on Thursday. The Task Force, headed by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), is charged with creating policy recommendations which will promote economic growth and long-term prosperity in Puerto Rico. Other members of the Task Force include both Florida Senators – Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) – as well as Representatives Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR).
Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and the Island’s only voice in Congress, issued a press release drawing attention to the report’s statement that “Residents of Puerto Rico and their families face numerous challenges to economic growth along many dimensions affected by Federal law and programs, including health care, government finances, economic stagnation, population loss, and sectoral inefficiencies.”
The report outlines the data the Task Force has collected and the steps they’ve taken so far:
- Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics. The Task Force expressed concern about the completeness and accuracy of the available data.
- Submissions to the Task Force email portal established to encourage submissions from stakeholders. The Task Force had received 335 submissions as of the writing of the report, and is currently working to analyze all of them. The deadline has been extended to October 14th, 2016, so the Task Force is expecting additional submissions.
- The Task Force lists the federal agencies they’ve contacted for support and collaboration, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Congressional support from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service (CRS).
- The report further lists the outreach undertaken so far in Puerto Rico, to organizations including the Legislative Assembly, the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce,
Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Health, and unspecified members of the private sector in Puerto Rico.
PROMESA requires the Task Force to prepare a report by December 31, 2016, that identifies obstacles to economic growth in Puerto Rico and recommends legislation which will meet the following goals:
- promote long-term economic growth and stability
- spur new job creation
- reduce child poverty
- attract investment in the territory