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.

Timely Ruling on the Supplemental Security Income for Puerto Rico

In a world where it seems there is only bad news, I’d like to share some good news that recently came out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit regarding the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and its extension to the residents 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Additional Content from the D.C. Team

NAP vs. SNAP: An Analysis on Federal Nutrition Assistance for Residents of Puerto Rico

In this policy brief, we take a look at some of the most important findings of the Update to Feasibility Study of Implementing SNAP in Puerto Rico published in July 2022 and analyze their implications.

Written Testimony Submitted to the United States Commission on Civil Rights

Written Testimony by Sergio M. Marxuach submitted to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on December 10, 2021.

Puerto Rico: Highlights of the Build Back Better Bill

There is a lot of activity going on in Washington, D.C. these days. Back in August, the Senate approved a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. That bill, however, has been on hold in the House, as Democrats negotiated amongst themselves the contents of the Build Back Better ("BBB") bill. We are still combing through the text, but to keep you informed, we wanted to share some of the key points in the BBB bill regarding Puerto Rico as of today.

Standing Up for Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C.

In a short three years, CNE has not only elevated and persuaded Congress and the Executive to more adequately address Puerto Rico’s challenges, but it has achieved substantial changes in federal law.

The Threefold Challenge to the Puerto Rican Economy

The Puerto Rican economy is simultaneously recovering from three systemic shocks: the COVID-19 pandemic, the considerable damage inflicted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the upcoming creditor's vote on the Plan of Adjustment negotiated by the FOMB.

The Medicaid Five-Year Deal

H.R. 4406 helps Puerto Rico avoid a short-term Medicaid funding cliff and provides some stability by setting forth clear funding levels for the next five years. However, the proposed five-year deal falls short of parity with the states, is not a permanent fix, and perpetuates the “separate and unequal” treatment of Medicaid beneficiaries in the territories, who are being told, once again, to accept a “good enough” deal.
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