Bhatia Proposes Amending Puerto Rico Constitution

Puerto Rico Senate Minority Leader and Popular Democratic Party (PPD) gubernatorial nomination hopeful Eduardo Bhatia yesterday proposed amending the territory’s constitution to require that any government borrowing above an amount to be determined be approved by the islands’ voters in a referendum. The proposal was one of ten basic government reforms he suggested, seven needing… Read more »

New Air Cargo Rules Provide Flexibility for Puerto Rico

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a notice tentatively allowing Puerto Rico to give foreign airlines more flexibility with passengers and cargo. What will change under the new rules? Non-U.S. airlines will be able to transfer freight and passengers from one of their own to other airplanes belonging to the same carrier. They will be allowed… Read more »

The RESILIENT Networks Act

Last week, Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), a Communications and Technology Subcommittee member, introduced the RESILIENT Networks Act. The bill is intended to strengthen communications during emergencies. The full title of the bill is “Reinforcing and Evaluating Service Integrity,… Read more »

Bill for Territories to Supply Statues for National Statuary Hall

National hall of Statuary

Rep. Michael San Nicolas (D-GU) of Guam has introduced HR 5820, a bill allowing the U.S. territories to display statues in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. National Statuary Hall The National Statuary Hall contains statues of prominent Americans from each of the States. Standing Bear represents Nebraska, Junipero Serra represents California, and Thomas Edison represents… Read more »

What’s a Mirror Code Possession?

The United States owns 14 territories, five of which are inhabited. Among these five territories, federal tax law is applied differently to its residents. Three U.S. territories are required to use a mirror code for taxes: Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Residents of each of these territories are U.S. citizens,… Read more »

Congressional Subcommittee Finds Problems with Unequal Treatment of Puerto Rico in U.S. Nutrition Programs

Disadvantages of Puerto Rico’s exclusion from the federal nutrition program were on display last week as the U.S. House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee heard testimony from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Inspector General. “Puerto Rico does not have the legislative authority to operate a disaster nutrition assistance program,” Phyllis K. Fong,… Read more »

Congress Discusses Puerto Rico Disaster Funds Bill, Refers to Colonial Status

Last week, the House of Representatives passed HR 5687, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief and Puerto Rico Disaster Tax Relief Act, 2020.  The debate that led up to House passage gave members of Congress an opportunity to make points about the legislative package and their priorities concerning Puerto Rico. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman… Read more »

Board Split, Governor Opposed to New GO Deal

The debt reduction agreement for Puerto Rico’s General Obligation (GO) bonds released by the PROMESA Financial Board just before press time for many newspapers last night was not supported by all Board Members and was immediately opposed by Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced (New Progressive Party/PNP). The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board submitted a filing disclosing the… Read more »

Block Grant Option: States Can Learn from Puerto Rico

A new federal program called “Healthy Adult Opportunity,” which will allow States to choose block grants for part of their Medicaid funding, has been released as guidance by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) The House quickly responded with House Resolution expressing disapproval and asking the CMS to withdraw the guidance. The Resolution… Read more »