House Appoints Hatch to Promesa Task Force
The House has appointed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to serve as the chairman of a bicameral task force charged under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa) with investigating the causes and possible solutions to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.
The House approved Hatch’s appointment in a pro forma session Monday afternoon. That session also formalized the appointments of Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) as the House Republican appointees to the task force. Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York and Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress, are the two House Democratic appointees.
In addition to Hatch, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) are members of the task force.
Promesa allows House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) decide who gets appointed as the task force’s chairman.
The task force is required to produce a report by December 31, 2016 that describes “impediments in current federal law and programs to economic growth in Puerto Rico,” including “equitable access to federal health care programs.” The task force is also required to highlight “recommended changes to federal law and programs that, if adopted,” would spur sustainable long-term economic growth, promote job creation, reduce child poverty, and attract investment in Puerto Rico.
Prior to release of the final report, the task force must provide a “status update” that includes a discussion of matters the chair of the task force “deems urgent for consideration by Congress.” This status update must be furnished between September 1, 2016 and September 15, 2016.
The task force is authorized to hold hearings. If the task force elects to do so, at least one hearing must be held in Puerto Rico. In preparing its report, the task force is required to consult with the Puerto Rico private sector, the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly, and the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce.