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Month: January 2019

US House committee members question Oversight Board debt estimates

Puerto Rico’s economic troubles have been plaguing the islands for years, but the newly elected United States House of Representatives may be exactly what the territory needs. Several newly arrived members of Congress wish to probe the board that was placed in charge of Puerto Rico’s financial crisis in order to determine if the actions they are taking are truly what is best for the island. As of writing this article, Puerto Rico’s overall debt sits at over 70 billion dollars and continues to rise. In response to this issue, The Obama Administration created The Financial Oversight and Management...

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America’s most conservative Democratic governor is in Puerto Rico

The 2018 midterms grew the ranks of the Democratic Governors Association with 9 new members: 7 from states and 2 from the territories, each representing a flip to Democratic control. Nearly half, or 11 out of 25, were sworn in for the first time in 2019. The new DGA outlook is a much more progressive and national bench than before, but its most conservative member remains Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico, who was first elected in 2016. Rosselló is a member of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico, a pro-statehood party, and identifies nationally with the Democratic...

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As federal policy ignores climate change, Puerto Rico shows US territories are the most vulnerable

As the government of the United States government pursues policies that ignore the threat from climate change, recent studies indicate that climate change is impacting US territories like Puerto Rico, in areas that are often overlooked. In a recent report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), huge numbers of insects have been lost from El Yunque—the only tropical rainforest under the US National Forest system. Invertebrates such as beetles and bees have dramatically decreased by 45% according to PNAS biologists. These same biologists have implicated climate change as the...

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The future of the Puerto Rican recovery in question

The divide between the Trump administration and Puerto Rico’s government was well-documented throughout the buildup and aftermath of Hurricane Maria. President Trump has come out in a series of public statements, saying that the monetary funds diverted to Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery were “beyond belief” and that the Puerto Rican government was nonetheless still asking for substantial more funds. In reality, FEMA has authorized disaster relief funds to the tune of $60 billion, while Puerto Rican officials have stated that the recovery process will cost upwards of $139 billion. President Trump, while criticizing what he calls incompetent government officials...

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Oversight Board wants the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission to fluctuate with electoral cycle

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico is recommending that the Government of Puerto Rico take the necessary steps to adjust the operations of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (the “CEE” in Spanish) to fluctuate with the electoral cycle and restructure its organization to become more efficient. In a letter to the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló (NPP, D), Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz (NPP) and House Speaker Carlos J. Méndez Núñez (NPP), the Oversight Board stated that while the SEC does essential work to bolster democracy by registering voters and managing the electoral process,...

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