Rosselló bets on Washington aid
Just a day after president Donald Trump visited the island, governor Ricardo Rosselló indicated that he hopes several initiatives in Congress will come to fruition. He also hopes the visit from vice-president Mike Pence this Friday will secure help from Washington.
“The devastation happened and cannot be questioned,” stated Rosselló, referencing Moody’s report on the damages that Hurricane Maria left in Puerto Rico. Said report established that the economic impact to the island could be as high as $95 billion.
Given this bleak prognosis, and the “magnitude of the devastation”, the governor argued that there is a need for a quick allocation of money from Congress.
“This [$95 billion en damages] requires for Congress, like it has done in the past, to send an initial payment that will go towards facing those challenges. That initial payment could be around $10 or $15 billion, so we can work to address the needs [in Puerto Rico],” stated Rosselló.
He later went on to indicate that he has seen “a lot of solidarity” from members of both chambers of Congress.
As for Trump’s expressions regarding the public debt, Rosselló argued that Puerto Rico is already in a judicial process through Tittle III of Promesa to handle the public debt, and therefore he wasn’t going to comment any further.
Last night, in a Fox News interview, president Trump said, “we have to look at the whole debt structure. You know, they owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we’re going to have to wipe that out.”
Another measure that Rosselló hopes will inject funding into Puerto Rico, particularly in the healthcare sector, is the funding renewal for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Rosselló explained that the inclusion of Puerto Rico in said measure is being discussed today in a congressional subcommittee.
Earlier in the year, resident commissioner Jenniffer González had alluded to the possibility of Puerto Rico being included in the renewal bill. Today Rosselló thanked the efforts of Frente para Puerto Rico and said this collaboration between the public and private sector is making “sure we can have a consistent message in Washington.”
As for vice-president’s visit, the governor explained that the expectation is to be able to discuss matters of implementation of several measures Rosselló discussed with Trump yesterday. Some of the areas to be revisited with Pence included healthcare and housing issues on the island.