On December 17th, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to denounce Congress’s failure to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal challenges. In his remarks, he noted:
The omnibus [funding legislation] has been billed as a compromise, but in reality it is packed with Republican policy provisions that only compromise our values. The omnibus bill should be about funding the government, not about pushing through policies that would never receive enough votes to pass on their own. Asking us to support this bill is asking us to support bad policy.
Among the legislation’s many serious shortcomings is its failure to address the mounting fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico. Mr. Speaker, the people of Puerto Rico are American citizens. They vote in our elections. They swear allegiance to our flag, they fight, and they die in our wars.
Yet, at a time when massive bills are coming due, this Congress has turned its back on Puerto Rico.
Including a provision in the omnibus to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt wouldn’t cost the American taxpayer one penny. We did not put that in. Every single State in this union can access the protections afforded by chapter 9. Puerto Rico is unfairly denied this ability. That is simply unfair, and our refusal to come to the island’s aid is un-American.