Friday, December 13, 2019

Trump renominates Puerto Rico fiscal board members

By on April 30, 2019

The White House is seen from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. (CB photo)

Resident commissioner confirms White House will send nominations to Senate

SAN JUAN – The White House is sending nominations to the Senate for Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board, whose current members are being renominated for confirmation by the lawmakers.

In light of a recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the current seven members of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico to fill out the remainder of the three-year terms to which they were initially appointed in 2016.

On its website, the White House wrote: “Politicians in Puerto Rico have long mismanaged the Puerto Rican people’s finances. That mismanagement led to over a hundred billion dollars in debt and unfunded liabilities that directly hurt the citizens with broken promises, poor services, a bloated bureaucracy, and dilapidated infrastructure. That mismanagement, corruption, and neglect continues to hurt the people of Puerto Rico who deserve better from their government. The most important component for future health and growth of Puerto Rico is financial constraint, reduced debt, and structural reforms. The work of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico is providing the stability and oversight needed to address these chronic issues that will bring hope of a brighter future for Puerto Rico.”

“The Members of the Oversight Board have an important mandate: to help Puerto Rico recover from an unsustainable debt burden and decades of fiscal mismanagement,” the panel said in a statement thanking President Trump’s decision to nominate them. “The Oversight Board has renegotiated a significant part of Puerto Rico’s debt and is confident that it will reach more agreements soon. Further, the Oversight Board has been steadily working towards instituting long term fiscal planning and balanced budgeting.”

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón received a call from the White House Monday, informing her the nominations would be made imminently.

“The Commissioner will not give out the list of names the White House gave her in deference to an official notification,” González’s spokeswoman, Marieli Padró, told Caribbean Business. However, via Twitter late Monday evening, the resident commissioner finally confirmed Trump’s nominations.

A White House source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity on the matter, had told Caribbean Business earlier Monday that the current members of the board were being renominated.

The board was established by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (Promesa), enacted by former President Obama, but its members were never confirmed by the Senate.

In a ruling Feb. 15, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals declared the board unconstitutionally appointed because its members were not confirmed by the Senate as required by the Appointments Clause.

While the court validated the board’s actions on Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy-like process under Promesa, it stayed its ruling for 90 days to give Congress the opportunity to either validate the existing board or reconstitute a new one to comply with the Appointments Clause. The board recently appealed the Boston court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a related matter, Raúl Manuel Arias-Marxuach, who reportedly served as vice chairman of the Litigation Practice Group at McConnell Valdés, appears to be closer to becoming the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico judge, replacing retired Judge José Antonio Fusté.

Arias’s name appears on the Senate list published Monday of “unanimous consent agreement” nominations that had “ripened,” which, according to the Congressional Research Office, means “a cloture motion for a vote” may be presented.


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