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Author: Fernando Salazar

The COMPROMISO Act that could have been

On September 20, 2018, Representative Jose Serrano (D) of New York unveiled the COMPROMISO Act on the anniversary of Hurricane Maria. The COMPROMISO Act—the Continuing Our Mission in Puerto Rico to Optimize and Modernize Infrastructure and Sustain Obligations Act—works to extend 100 percent cost share waivers for FEMA categories A and B in Puerto Rico to ensure that the federal government covers the costs of emergency assistance to the islands as a result of Hurricane Maria. The bill is currently sponsored by a bipartisan group of Puerto Rican legislators, including Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R). In the...

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Population of Puerto Ricans nationwide growing rapidly, affecting national races

A new study released by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies points to a rapid pace of growth in the number of Puerto Ricans living in the United States. According to the data, the number of Puerto Ricans on the mainland grew from 5.4 million in 2016 to 5.5 million in 2017. Interestingly, Florida became the state with the greatest total number of Puerto Ricans for the first time in 2017. The study attributes this rise to three key factors: migration to the Sunshine State from the islands, internal migration from other states, and natural growth. The state of...

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Congress unlikely to investigate Hurricane Maria disaster in Puerto Rico unless Democrats take the House

Congressional Republicans have begun to speculate about the potential investigations that Democrats could launch if they are able to retake the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterm elections. Control of the House would give massive oversight power to the Democrats, a power that they charge Republicans have not used enough under President Donald Trump. If Democrats win the majority, they will have the power to launch investigations, subpoena witnesses, and hold public hearings on just about any issue that they would like. Republicans on Capitol Hill have privately begun preparing for the worst should they lose their majority...

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Northern Marianas Islands Workforce Act to provide relief for small businesses

Earlier this month, the US Senate passed the Northern Mariana Islands US Workforce Act. The proposed legislation passed by unanimous consent and was signed by President Donald Trump on July 25. The legislation proposes an increase in the number of transitional worker permits issued in the Northern Mariana Islands to be increased from current 4,999 to 13,000 for the next fiscal year that starts in October of this year. The bill was written partly in response to a recent decision by the Trump to cut the number of permits in half to 4,999. Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D), who...

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Hurricane Maria death count prompts federal action

Nearly 8 months following Hurricane Maria’s path of destruction through Puerto Rico, questions remain surrounding the official death toll. The number that has the official backing of the Puerto Rican government, 64, has been declared by many to be a severe undercount. The government’s count of the dead has not moved since December of 2017. Estimates range from the government’s low count of 64 to the recent Harvard University study that assessed the death toll at 4,645.   The conflicting accounts of the true death toll have been complicated by the way in which the Puerto Rican government has...

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