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Author: William-Jose Velez

Puerto Rico Oversight Board proposes debt restructuring plan

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico filed its proposed Plan of Adjustment to restructure $35 billion of debt and other claims against the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Public Building Authority (PBA), and the Employee Retirement System (ERS); and more than $50 billion of pension liabilities. The Plan provides a framework to reduce the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s debt to sustainable levels and provides a path to exit bankruptcy. It reduces the Commonwealth’s $35 billion of total liabilities –bonds and other claims – by more than 60%, to $12 billion. Combined with the restructuring of COFINA...

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Sablan’s permanent residence bill gets committee approval

Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D) of the Northern Mariana Islands had two bills approved for a vote by the United States House of Representatives. The US House Committee on Natural Resources reported out HR 560, Sablan’s bill making permanent resident status in the Marianas possible for an estimated 2,875 long-term CW workers. The bill also gives some 56 foreign investors, originally admitted under the Marianas’ own immigration law, the ability to stay in the islands indefinitely. In June, Sablan won the same Marianas-only permanent resident status for over 1,000 individuals, who have been living in the islands under...

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Delegate San Nicolas introduces HR 4262 to fund and expedite tax refunds

Delegate Michael San Nicolas (D) of Guam introduced HR 4262 today to entwine Guam law with the Organic Act to ensure tax refund deposits and expedite tax refund payments. HR 4262 specifically requires the Government of Guam, through the Organic Act of Guam, to process and pay a tax refund within 90 days of its individual filing, as opposed to the court order to pay within 6 months from the deadline to file. “This section basically means that if you filed a proper tax return in February, you will get paid in May, as opposed to waiting months longer...

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Amata hails success of bipartisan effort urging DHS action on REAL ID for COFA migrants

American Samoa Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R) hailed the success of a bipartisan request to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding its administrative rules which placed undue constraints on Compact of Freely Associated States migrants seeking to obtain REAL IDs. The DHS has responded with a change in those requirements to remove unnecessary barriers to the benefit of those living or working in the US from these valued Pacific allies. The effort was led on the House side by Dean of the House Representative Don Young (R) of Alaska and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D) of Hawaii,...

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US Virgin Islands Governor sends letter to President Trump advocating for US aid to The Bahamas

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (D) has sent a letter to President Donald Trump (R) urging the administration to provide United States aid to The Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. The governor drew on the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and María and what Virgin Islanders experienced to empathize with Bahamian residents and their guests. “Having had these experiences, the people of the Virgin Islands understand all too well the feelings of helplessness, distress and displaced sense of purpose, safety and peace that the people of The Bahamas are currently experiencing,” Governor Bryan wrote. “As a territory of the United States,...

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