Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wrote about her plan for Puerto Rico in an article in La Prensa. Clinton began with a clear statement about the functioning of the PROMESA fiscal oversight board. The board has met twice in New York and has given Governor Garcia Padilla an Oct. 14 deadline to produce a ternaround plan, but much of the functioning of the board will take place under the new governor of Puerto Rico and the new president of the United States beginning in 2017.
“As PROMESA is implemented,” Clinton wrote, we must ensure that the interests of the people of Puerto Rico are protected above the earnings of hedge funds. Federal officials must respect the government of Puerto Rico while the laws are implemented and while the budget and debt of Puerto Rico are restructured. We need a recovery strategy that promotes growth, not austerity. Working together we can protect the health system, pensions, wages and wellbeing of Puerto Ricans.”
But Clinton recognized that the financial problems in Puerto Rico are symptoms of a larger problem. “The inconsistent treatment of Puerto Rico by the federal government has been a determining factor of its economic decline,” Clinton wrote. “Some programs give [Puerto Rico] a second-class status. Others do not even recognize it as part of the United States. This inconsistent treatment makes no sense and I am committed to ensure that Puerto Ricans are treated equally.”
Clinton described her plans to make Puerto Rio more attractive to business investors. “We are committed to increased investment in infrastructure,” she wrote. “We will ensure that Puerto Ricans are treated equally in Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit families. And we’ll make programs like the Child Tax Credit (Child Tax Credit) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are available to all low-income workers, the elderly and the disabled.”
“We must do everything possible to resolve the political status of Puerto Rico,” Clinton continued. “Puerto Ricans are proud Americans who have sacrificed a lot for the country and deserve to have a voice on the laws that govern them. I will spare no effort in working with the people of Puerto Rico and the defenders of all aspects to answer the fundamental question of its political status. The people of Puerto Rico must decide their future and I will support their decision. A process for resolving the legal status of Puerto Rico should be fair and consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States; and the decision should be taken by majority vote. I will support any process that meets these requirements, such as a statehood yes or no vote. It is time to resolve this matter.”
Clinton concluded by reminding her readers of her longstanding relationship with Puerto Rico and the territory’s people, as well as with Puerto Ricans in the State of New York, whom she served as senator. She contrasted her plans for Puerto Rico with those of her political rival, and pledged to support Puerto Rico as president.