Linda Sánchez Statement on Puerto Rico
June 9, 2016
Washington, DC - Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and a member of the Ways and Means Committee, today announced she will support H.R. 5278, The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA):
“Since June of last year, I have closely monitored the humanitarian crisis affecting 3.5 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico. I have spent the past year meeting with my constituents, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Democratic Leadership, and Administration officials to discuss the best way forward for Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) is not perfect, and I have strong objections to many of the provisions in the bill, but it is the bill before us today.
“I disagree with the bill’s language on minimum wage, overtime protections, and earned retirement pension benefits. We should not value a person’s labor less simply because their work is completed on the Island and not the mainland. Hardworking people also deserve the peace of mind that their earned benefits will be there when the time comes to retire. As I have done throughout my career, and throughout this process, I will continue to press for an increased minimum wage, expanded overtime protections, and adequate pension funding for all workers.
“Another concern I have with the PROMESA is the proposed structure and function of the Financial Management and Oversight Board. The Oversight Board should be representative and accountable to the people of Puerto Rico, not those who were merely appointed and not elected.
“Nevertheless, despite my deep concerns, this is not about me and this is not about politics. I firmly believe that unless PROMESA is passed, Puerto Rico will default on its debt payments and will be forced to spend money on messy litigation instead of basic services. This crisis is a humanitarian one brought about by more than a decade of recession, debt, austerity, and mismanagement.
“The 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico should have never had to suffer this long. We are finally in a position to provide Puerto Rico relief and that is why I am supporting PROMESA. Thanks to the leadership of President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Ranking Member Raul Grijalva, and Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who have been working tirelessly on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico, we now have bipartisan legislation that will help Puerto Rico out of this financial crisis and put it back on track to meet its essential obligations.
“We cannot afford to keep kicking the can down the road as Republicans did last year. Puerto Rico is out of time and out of resources. We must pass PROMESA now. After thoroughly reviewing and considering the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, I have decided to support the bill. Providing relief to the citizens living on the island of Puerto Rico is the principal objective and I believe this agreement is the best option to achieve that goal.”