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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 19, 2016 09:47 AM
From: Representative Leslie Acosta
To: All House members
Subject: Humanitarian and Fiscal Crisis in Puerto Rico
In the near future I will be introducing a resolution calling upon the United States Congress and the President to develop a comprehensive plan to address the humanitarian and fiscal crisis facing Puerto Rico.

In June 2015, Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared the Commonwealth’s $72 billion dollar debt “not payable” with the island effectively running out of cash for the government to continue operating. The economic crisis has forced a second “Great Migration” much like after World War II, with more than 250,000 Puerto Ricans leaving the island since 2010.

Puerto Rico has taken extraordinary austerity measures to address the situation, including shuttering more than one hundred public schools, delaying people’s tax refunds, increasing the retirement age, borrowing from the worker’s compensation fund and even withholding holiday bonuses, while also increasing the local sales tax to a national high of 11.5%.

Prior to 1985, Puerto Rico had the ability to file for bankruptcy Chapter 9, which was later taken from the territory, which has since limited its ability to restructure the island’s debt on its own.

We need to act now to extend equal treatment to Puerto Rico and its American citizens, 3.5 million who reside on the island and 5 million in the Diaspora in the United States and abroad.

Pennsylvania has the 4th largest Puerto Rican population in the United States, after New York, New Jersey and Florida who are united in a call for action.

Please stand with me and the entire House of Representatives to join the legislative action by City Councils in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, Cleveland, Orlando, and New Jersey so that in unity we can call on the United States Congress and President Obama to provide Puerto Rico with the tools needed to create a pathway to economic recovery.

Introduced as HR693