Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: Garcia Padilla Invites New York Elected Officials to Help Economic, Health Crisis
New York officials will make a one-day trip to Puerto Rico to discuss the island's economic and health crisis. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo leads the delegation comprising of the state's elected officials and Medicaid experts.
At the invitation of Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the New York delegation will depart from the mainland on Sept. 7. According to Cuomo, Puerto Rico's current situation has been "unsustainable" and puts millions of its residents at risk. Cuomo recognized many Puerto Ricans have strong ties with New York. As Pew Research Center noted, most Puerto Ricans have concentrated in the northeastern U.S., mostly in New York.
"New York and Puerto Rico have a special relationship bound in heritage, history, culture and family - and when times are tough we stand side by side and offer whatever help we can... this trip is about stepping up for Puerto Rico and its people, and I look forward to working together with our partners to help address this crisis, "said Cuomo in a statement.
The trip comes as Puerto Rico's debt has hit over $70 billion. Elected officials from the island and the mainland have called on the federal government to act, especially on addressing the debt.
"We need to work together to raise our voice and call on the federal government to act now to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters before it is too late," said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was born in Puerto Rico.
A couple pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress to allow Puerto Rico's municipalities and public utilities to adhere to U.S. bankruptcy laws, just as any U.S. city or state is allowed to do. Puerto Rico, as a territory, does not have the same bankruptcy law benefits. In the House of Representatives, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico's non-voting congressman, introduced H.R. 970, which would grant the island the same bankruptcy law benefits. The Senate also introduced a complimentary bill, S. 1774.
Also accompanying Cuomo and Mark-Viverito are New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, New York Comptroller Scott Stringer, Democratic Rep. Nydia Velasquez and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
"All Americans have a significant stake in how Puerto Rico's crisis is resolved," Velasquez said in a statement, a native of Puerto Rico who became the first Puerto Rican woman elected into Congress in 1992. "We must begin seeking solutions at all levels of government."
"For several months, I have been pushing for common sense solutions to Puerto Rico's crisis," said Diaz, Jr., commending Cuomo who setting the one-day trip to "discuss with Puerto Rican officials ways to help develop achievable proposals and plans that support the future development of Puerto Rico and prevent a catastrophe for our fellow Americans who call Puerto Rico their home."
In late June, Garcia Padilla said the island's debt is "unpayable," and it is a figure he claimed "is essentially the same" as two years ago, but he denied allegations that the debt is solely the result of loans.
"These are not easy times that we have had to live," said Garcia Padilla in June. "But if we battle together, against any enemy, against any crisis, united, Puerto Rico will prevail."
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
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