Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will serve on the bipartisan Congressional Task Force for Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, which was established by PROMESA, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act.
“Congress has a responsibility to create the conditions that will spur job creation, reduce poverty and drive investment in the island,” NBC News quoted Rubio as saying. “This is one of the first steps in the process of turning Puerto Rico around, and I’m eager for the opportunity to share my pro-growth agenda for Puerto Rico as a part of this task force.”
The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico is a separate entity from the fiscal oversight board which was also established as part of PROMESA, and will operate independently of that board.
The task force and the fiscal oversight board, along with authorization to reorganize debt, are intended to help Puerto Rico cope with over $70 billion in debt. Rubio described PROMESA last month in Florida Today as “an appropriate first step by Congress to deal with this calamity. ”
“The bill,” Rubio wrote, “would create a fiscal oversight board to help fix the mess, ensure that bondholders’ rights are protected and make sure a taxpayer bailout does not happen. I understand that federal oversight is a tough pill to swallow for some on the island – and it’s an option I don’t take lightly, given my belief that government usually works best when it is closest to the people, not dictated from Washington. But in Puerto Rico’s case, it has become a necessary condition to ensure that tough decisions are made now, so that an even bigger crisis can be avoided.”
Rubio has a history of support for Puerto Rico, but did not support Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection for the Island. Rubio won the Republican Presidential Primary in Puerto Rico, but is now running for re-election to the Senate. He was among the speakers at the Republican National Convention.
Other appointees to the task force will be:
- Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
- Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
- Pedro Pierluisi (Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico)
- Bill Nelson (D-FL)
- Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
- Sean Duffy (R-WI)
- Tom MacArthur (R-NJ)
Sen. Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, will also chair the task force.
The task force has not yet announced plans for meetings or receiving submissions.