Sen. Bill Nelson Says Puerto Rico’s Problems are U.S. Problems

Senator Bill Nelson spoke on the Senate floor recently about Puerto Rico’s financial crisis:

We’ve all heard about the current situation that Puerto Rico finds itself, and they are suffering. They’re having trouble paying their bills, and their economy is in shambles. And some people have the attitude, well, that’s not our problem.

But they’re forgetting the fact that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. It’s a territory. It is not a foreign country. Puerto Ricans are American citizens. If a problem exists in Puerto Rico, it exists in the United States. It isn’t something that we can just ignore. And it impacts the entire country.

Nelson is not only saying that the United States has a moral obligation to Puerto Rico based on the contributions Puerto Rico has made in the form of tax paymentsmilitary service and more.  He’s not talking about the state-based funds that have invested in Puerto Rico’s bonds. He’s pointing out that the financial crisis in Puerto Rico has immediate, direct effects on the mainland U.S.

If the economy continues to suffer in Puerto Rico, the people there will just move to another part of the country. I want to repeat that. If things are bad in Puerto Rico economically, they — Puerto Ricans — can move to another part of the country. This is not immigration. This is a move to the mainland, and many Puerto Ricans are leaving Puerto Rico because of its troubles.

Now, happily, many of the people that live on the island are moving to Florida. They’re adding to the diversity and immense fabric of Florida that reflects the entire country.

But our gain in Florida is Puerto Rico’s loss. There are more than a million people in Florida alone that may have preferred to stay at home on the island with their friends and their family, people who otherwise would be opening small businesses or new doctors’ offices in San Juan are opening them in Orlando. This only hurts Puerto Rico’s economic future.

States and communities could struggle with more new residents than they can handle, or they might benefit, as Nelson says Florida has, but at a further loss to Puerto Rico’s economy.

Nelson spoke out for equality for the people of Puerto Rico, both in their treatment under federal health care programs and under chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

He concluded with a call to action:

We should move the proposals that we can move in this legislative body, and we should do it with haste.

There are more than 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico. They are U.S. citizens who unlike most U.S. citizens, have no one to represent them in this chamber, and only have a nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives… We cannot turn our backs on fellow Americans.

By the way, when it comes time to defending this country in our national security, look at the percentage of Puerto Ricans that sign up for the military.

They are fellow Americans. And I ask my colleagues to look deep in their hearts and find a way to come together to help the island of Puerto Rico, a territory, our fellow American citizens, to get through this troubled time.

One Comment

Luis Arroyo

Congress has shown a historic indifference to the PDP’s efforts to culturally distance PR from the rest of the US.
When Gov Marin eliminated english from PR schools, a majority Dem Congress did nothing.
Despite the US senate previously rejecting Marin’s pick for Ed secretary (Villanueva?)for his anti American rants and pledge to erase English, the Senate DID NOTHING TO PUNISH THE “COMMONWEALTH” for deliberately derailing assimilation and bilingualism. Two reasons IMHO.
1 Congress participated in the “Free Associated State”Farce to avoid making PR a state. (Keep in mind Dems at the time were segregationist and behind Balzac/Insular cases).
2 Any action by Congress under Territorial Clause would expose the Free Associated State lie (FAS) in Puerto Rico, triggering a movement for full statehood or true sovereignty. (US needed PR for bombing ranges ans strategic military use.).

Throught the years the PDP (Locally, the “PPD”) has engaged in socialist gov policies like;
1 Hiring as many people for the government as possible. Thus, the PPD was the dominant party for decades. Nobody votes against the party that employs your parents. This created “PDP families” where everyone in the household; parents, kids, grandkids, voted “popular” (The PR Democrats call officially call themselves “Popular Democrat Party” rather than “populista” which is “populist” in english.
This PDP party has bought every major service corporation whether water, electricity, telecommunications into single gov owned monopolies. They look to Cuba and Venezuela as economic models! Whenever they “quasi privatize”or Public/private partnership, the sell to NON AMERICAN FIRMS mostly Venezuelan or Mexican.
They have brainwashed Puerto Ricans inti thinking they are either Puerto Rican or American (Called out as “vende patria”sellouts by tge PDP) but never Puerto Rican-American!

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