Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Puerto Rico gov discusses recovery aid with federal officials in Washington

By on September 10, 2019

(Courtesy)

Week-long agenda also focuses on improving credibility in Congress

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez continued her meeting agenda in Washington, D.C., Tuesday in an effort to regain the federal government’s trust in the island’s government administration and achieve the disbursement of funds for Medicaid, economic development, housing and reconstruction after Hurricane Maria, among other pressing needs of the island.

In a statement issued by her office, La Fortaleza, the governor noted that she would be meeting with White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs officials to discuss Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts and the allocation of federal funds.

Vázquez will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Housing Secretary Ben Carson. In addition, she will meet with Energy Department officials.

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) Executive Director Jennifer Storipan will accompany the governor for some of the meetings.

Vázquez arrived in Washington on Sunday and started to hold meetings Monday, when she discussed the island’s funding and health-related program needs with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service. She also met with Education Assistant Secretary Frank Brogan, with whom she discussed priority issues “for the proper functioning of Puerto Rico’s school system.”

The governor will meet with members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Thursday regarding the island’s recovery efforts after hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

“The main purpose of this visit to the federal capital is to restore relations with federal entities that are key in the disbursement of funds for the recovery of Puerto Rico and the projects that allow the social and economic development of the island,” Vázquez said in a statement. “We are focused on improving the credibility of Puerto Rico at federal Congress, as well as creating alliances to develop projects that improve the quality of life of Puerto Ricans.”

On Wednesday and Thursday, Vázquez and Puerto Rico officials will meet with various members of Congress to continue discussing hurricane recovery efforts, Puerto Rico’s admission as a state, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability Act (Promesa), the energy system and Medicaid. 

The meetings slated for Wednesday and Thursday include separate conversations with Reps. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.),  Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ark.), according to an agenda sent to Caribbean Business. 

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