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Rep. Serrano Writes to President Obama to Urge “More Action” on Puerto Rico

New York Congressman José E. Serrano, a native of Puerto Rico, wrote to President Obama this week urging federal action on behalf of Puerto Rico.

“We have now reached a point,” Rep. Serrano wrote, “where more action by the federal government is needed.”

The letter referenced Puerto Rico’s debt, which totals some $73 billion. The White House has recently said that the White House is prepared to offer expert advise, but no more. Serrano emphasized the urgency of the situation:

With several large debt payments due soon, there are immediate liquidity challenges for the government. Absent further federal action or some resolution of Puerto Rico’s debt issues, the island will be forced to make severe financial decisions that will hurt both the Puerto Rican people and the national economy.

Serrano listed specific actions that would help, including action by Congress to allow Puerto Rico to use Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy law to restructure some of the territory’s debt. Serrano cautioned, however, that Chapter 9 access will not solve all of the island’s financial troubles. “Puerto Rico needs to implement structural reforms that will enhance job creation, increase economic growth, and attract investment to the island,” he said. He suggested further that the Federal government could help make these changes without creating severe burdens for the people of Puerto Rico, who already experience greater poverty, on average, than the people of any of the states.

Serrano continued:

For the past 117 years, Puerto Rico has been treated as something less than the rest of our nation. It has been ignored, underfunded, and marginalized. The economic problems that Puerto Rico faces are directly correlated to its current territorial status. We are not going to solve the island’s economic problems until and unless we solve the political status question. Currently, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico does not have equal access to federal programs, and its 3.6 million residents do not have the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow American citizens residing in the 50 states.

Serrano concluded by reminding the president, “Your leadership on this issue is crucial.”

Read the full text of the letter.

4 thoughts on “Rep. Serrano Writes to President Obama to Urge “More Action” on Puerto Rico”

  1. Serrano is one of two congressman of Puerto Rican descent supporting US Statehood for Puerto Rico. The other being Raul Labrador.

    Nydia Velazquez and Luis Guttierrez are disgraceful hypocrites.

  2. Luis and Nydia oppose US statehood,are members of the US Communist party and seek independence for Puerto Rico.
    They oppose equality for Puerto Rico yet demand full rights,amnesty,and US citizenship for the 15 to 20 million illegal Mexican aliens in USA. That’s seditious conduct.

  3. Illinois Democrat Luis Gutiérrez and New York Democrat Nydia Velázquez are indeed contemptibly hypocrital: they are delighted to be American Members of Congress, but they fight tooth and nail to deny their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico the right even to be represented in Congress by voting members of their own. New York Democrat José Serrano merits admiration for having perennially condemned Puerto Rico’s territorial disenfranchisement from the Federal electoral process; in that context, however (unless he’s reversed course recently), Representative Serrano has consistently refrained from supporting any single alternative to the colonial status quo. As for Idaho Republican Raúl Labrador, he may have refrained from overtly opposing U.S. statehood for Puerto Rico, but I am unaware that he’s ever overtly endorsed it. If the Zealot is wrong about any of the impressions expressed above, then the Zealot would welcome authoritative correction.

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