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Puerto Rico Economic Growth Task Force Members Appointed

By on July 15, 2016

FILE - This Jan. 28, 2015 photo shows an aerial view of the south side of the Puerto Rico's Capitol building in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A federal judge ruled late Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 that a Puerto Rico debt-restructuring law that aims to protect the government from bankruptcy and make public corporations self-sufficient is unconstitutional. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla approved the Recovery Act in June of 2014 after submitting a last-minute bill to legislators, urging them to approve it amid concerns that certain public agencies might collapse financially. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

An aerial view of the south side of the Puerto Rico’s Capitol building in San Juan. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

SAN JUAN – Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch were appointed Friday to the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth created by the law that would create a fiscal control board to oversee Puerto Rico’s budget.

House Speaker Paul Ryan appointed Rep. Tom MacArthur and Rep. Sean Duffy to the task force.

“PROMESA is simply good, bipartisan legislation and I’m proud that it is now law. It puts Puerto Rico on a path to fiscal health, and does so without a bailout from taxpayers,” Ryan said. “It’s crucial that the Puerto Rican government enacts common-sense, pro-growth reforms. Reps. Duffy and MacArthur are the leaders we need to make the right recommendations so Puerto Rico can create jobs and reboot its economy.”

They will joined by Democratic Party Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Washington Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menéndez and Sen. Bill Nelson.

The task force consists of two appointees from each of the four congressional party leaders. House Speaker Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
Rubio and Hatch were appointed by McConnell while Pierluisi and Velázquez were appointed by Pelosi. Reid appointed Melendez and Nelson.

Hatch, who is also the Senate Finance Committee chairman, recently asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate possible illegal acts involving the U.S. Treasury Department and the island’s fiscal crisis while Rubio ran for U.S. president and was supported by the local Republican Party.

The Task Force was created through the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, or Promesa, which was enacted July 1, and is responsible for developing ways to jumpstart Puerto Rico’s ailing economy. The eight-member task force is separate from the seven-member oversight board in charge of monitoring the island’s budgets.

However, none of the proposals for economic growth that are slated to be proposed by the Task Force will be binding to Congress, which means U.S. lawmakers will not be required to give them the green light. In a recent interview, House Speaker Jaime Perelló said he plans to lobby Washington in favor of an amendment that would require the Task Force’s proposals to be binding.

“The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico has the important responsibility of helping to frame the steps Congress must take to jumpstart the Commonwealth’s economy and promote growth and prosperity on the island. The appointments…demonstrate an unequivocal bipartisan commitment to restoring fiscal responsibility, creating good paying jobs and providing clear certainty to 3.4 million Americans living in Puerto Rico,” said Javier Ortiz, executive director of the Puerto Rico Economic Recovery Initiative.

“The Puerto Rico Economic Recovery Initiative will work directly with the Congressional Task Force and the private sector to help define the steps Congress must take to help spur economic development on the island. We will also ensure that the American families living in Puerto Rico will never again be an afterthought to the rest of the nation,” the nonprofit’s director added.

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