Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, and Senate President Thomas Rivera-Schatz joined forces Thursday in an effort from the federal capital to insert Puerto Rico into the discussion of the United States budget.
The officials attended the meetings accompanied by the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Carlos Mercader, and took the opportunity to talk with federal representatives and senators about the importance of the status plebiscite to be held in Puerto Rico on June 11.
The trio met with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan early in the day, stressing the importance that Congress gives way to the budget recommendation for the island. At the same time, they requested his commitment to achieve the decolonization of Puerto Rico.
Faced with this request, Ryan acknowledged Puerto Rico’s political status “is a fundamental problem and it is important to deal with it in order to achieve the Island’s economic recovery,” Rosselló said.
“We are united in Washington, DC, making sure Congress addresses the issue of Puerto Rico and the needs of the American citizens residing in Puerto Rico. The disparity in healthcare allocations and the political status have to be addressed as a civil rights issue. This has been our emphasis at each of the meetings today,” he said.
Meanwhile, González agreed that, “the pursuit of equality is an effort of all and a civil rights issue.”
“To have one out of one hundred American citizens with unequal status and lacking full representation is too much. The unequal treatment of our veterans, military, and their families is an affront to their dignity,” she said.
“All parties agree that the current status is insufficient. We have the tools to end this inequality now, we have a consultation that even meets the last requirements of the U.S. Department of Justice,” González said. “We’re preparing Congress to jointly take swift action and enforce the will of the people of Puerto Rico.”
“Puerto Rico has to vote on June 11 to give me the tools to fight for more economic resources for the Island and its development. We thanked Speaker Ryan for including Puerto Rico in Medicaid and raised the importance of the funds that are missing to end the fiscal year 2018,” she added.
On the other hand, Rivera-Schatz said, “today’s meetings seek to educate the members of Congress on the importance of solving the problem of political status to achieve the economic recovery of Puerto Rico.”
“Today we have talked with the congressional leadership to strengthen our relations with the federal government and in turn educate on the health issue and the tax reform processes that our administration has set forth on the island,” Mercader said.
“Our agenda is a very ambitious one in search of the best interests of Puerto Rico and these visits help us to take the precise information to continue working in reaching the goals,” added Mercader.