Ferrer proposes eliminating Federal Affairs Office
SAN JUAN — Héctor Ferrer, former president of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and aspiring candidate for resident commissioner in Washington, proposed today the elimination of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), located in the U.S. capital.
The proposal forms part of his economic development platform, alongside other proposals aimed at strengthening the office of resident commissioner to provide more attention to municipal affairs, non-profit institutions, transportation, security, energy production and healthcare, including Medicare and Medicaid. Ferrer pointed out that the budget assigned to PRFAA, some $3.8 million, should be used to address other priority issues in Puerto Rico.
At a press conference at the PDP headquarters in the Puerta de Tierra sector of San Juan, Ferrer explained that “there is no justification for the existence of a PRFAA office to represent Puerto Rico before the federal government and use funds to hire lobbyists trying in its bid to secure federal funds, when the resident commissioner can carry out these same functions.”
As part of his integrated plan of congressional, administrative and legislative measures in Puerto Rico to stimulate the island’s economy, Ferrer highlighted the need to amend Section 243 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, so that foreign companies with operations on the island are able to directly distribute their profits to their parent companies in the United States.
Ferrer added that if such a change is achieved, foreign investment on the island would increase, which in turn would generate new income, achieve greater competitiveness, create more jobs and overall strengthen the economy, because profits would not be sent to their subsidiaries in Asia or Europe.
Ferrer added that if elected he would initiate steps to promote commercial agreements for Puerto Rico with Caribbean islands that are part of the European Union. He pointed out that products that arrive to Puerto Rico from Europe do so through the United States, and are subject to Jones Act restrictions, which increase their cost.
Meanwhile, Ferrer insisted that the imposition of a fiscal control board in Puerto Rico as a remedy for the restructuring of the debt should provoke widespread indignation. He said that the government has to restructure the debt and it could do so by creating a local bond emission to collect money for the payment of the debt, and pay it later at different installments, an idea he had previously proposed.