Washington, D.C. Office

Washington, D.C. Office

We cannot neglect the role Washington D.C. plays in Puerto Rico’s affairs.

In 2016 all three branches of the federal government took action related to Puerto Rico.  The judicial branch, through two separate rulings issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, opined that Puerto Rico is not a sovereign territory and ultimately responds to the plenary powers of the U.S. Congress.  The legislative branch authored and voted for the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) allowing the island to access a comprehensive restructuring process, under the purview of a seven-member oversight board.  Finally, the executive branch signed the law and subsequently appointed members to the oversight board.

It was evident this turning point underscored the need for a think tank dedicated to the island’s issues to be present in Washington D.C. and lend its voice to federal policymakers. CNE is doing just that, becoming the principal non-political voice from Puerto Rico and a resource for knowledge and information. It channels its expertise through distinguished analysis and fact-based advocacy. With its office in D.C., we expect to get the U.S. Congress, the executive branch and federal agencies to focus on the right issues and make progress for CNE’s only client: Puerto Rico.

The CNE D.C. Team

Rosanna Torres

Director, Washington D.C. Office

Rosanna Torres joined CNE after ten years of public service in several roles within the federal government. Prior to this role, she served as Legislative Director for a senior member of Congress, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, a role she assumed after having worked as a professional staff member in the House Small Business Committee. Rosanna also served as a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she worked closely on the federal government’s response to Puerto Rico’s fiscal and economic crisis. She has experience at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget where she gained insight into the budget and appropriation process for multiple federal government agencies. Her first role in government was with the U.S. Census Bureau, where she also participated in detail programs with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Performance Improvement Council.

Rosanna holds a master’s degree in International Commerce and Public Policy from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Statistics from the University of Puerto Rico.

Replenishing Aid for Small Businesses and Organizations

As soon as the third federal coronavirus response package was signed into law, the clock started ticking for small businesses already overwhelmed by business-altering decisions. Business owners, sole proprietors and leaders of nonprofit organizations rushed to ensure their organizations would not be left out of any available help.  But, as it turns out now, the scale tipped towards those with most leverage and influence on the Hill.
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Notes on Social Distancing, Defense Production, and COVID-19 Relief Legislation

In the past couple of days,  the federal government has taken several steps to respond to the worsening COVID-19 crisis. Among the most notable are: 1) extending social distancing guidelines through the end of April, 2) conferring the power of the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of health supplies, and 3) passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.  Read on for relevant notes of each.
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Congressional Response to Puerto Rico’s COVID-19 Outbreak

Puerto Rico, which has seen its share of significant back-to-back crises, is once again caught unprepared to tackle the economic costs and public health challenges that will arise from this epidemiological shock. It is just not equipped to face a large-scale health care crisis. That is unless we can secure federal support and empower local institutions.
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Tragic Start to the New Year and Actions from the Federal Government

Puerto Rico received the new year with a series of earthquakes, aggravating its ability to recover from the 2017 hurricanes. In response to the significant damages suffered once again by the residents of Puerto Rico, and increasing public pressure, on January 16, 2020, the Federal Government took several actions related to Puerto Rico’s Disaster Recovery Process. Read on for a brief summary of these actions.
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Puerto Rico Small Business Contracting Provision in NDAA

On December 11, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed in a 377-48 vote the Conference Report to accompany the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), or S. 1790 which authorizes funding for fiscal year 2020 for military and defense activities of the U.S. Government. Embedded in the massive legislation is Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s H.R. 3372, the Small Business Contracting Credit Act of 2019.
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Averting a government shutdown and Puerto Rico’s Medicaid cliff

Last night the House unveiled a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government through December 20. What does this mean for Puerto Rico?
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Additional Content from the D.C. Team

Pandemic Exposes Fragility of Puerto Rico’s Health Care System

In seven months, Puerto Rico faces an imminent threat to its healthcare system: lack of sufficient funds to operate. This is not unusual for Puerto Rico nor any of the other U.S. territories.
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EITC Questions & Answers

What exactly is the EITC? How does it help families in overcoming poverty and how does it promote labor force participation? Keep reading to find out.
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Modified COVID Relief Package Clears Senate Hurdles

After an almost 27-hour session of amendments, debate, and last-minute negotiations within the Democratic camp, the Senate approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on March 6, by a 50 to 49 vote.
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SSI Litigation Update

There have been two recent developments in the ongoing litigation regarding the application of the Supplemental Security Income program to residents of Puerto Rico.
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Reinvigorating the Puerto Rico Task Force

Management of territorial affairs has historically fallen under the purview of the Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs. However, President Kennedy changed that situation in the case of Puerto Rico by issuing a memorandum ordering that all matters regarding the U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship be referred to the Office of the President.
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The Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”), enacted by Congress in 1975, is a tax credit available to working families in the United States whose incomes range from well below the federal poverty threshold to roughly double the poverty line.
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