Congresswoman Bordallo and other island delegates will likely try to amend a Puerto Rico debt bill, if Guam and the other territories are denied key economic relief when the House Resources Committee resumes considering the bill.
Washington D.C. – Bordallo’s office says without a ‘better deal’ from Republicans in the Puerto Rico debt bill, the delegates will have no choice but to fight for amendments.
The bill was sidelined last week for more negotiations with the White House, after it became apparent, the votes weren’t there to pass the measure. Both parties want changes.
Congresswoman Bordallo, the CNMI’s Greg ‘Kilili’ Sablan, and American Samoa Republican Aumua Amata Radewagen want the same deal Puerto Rico’s getting—bankruptcy tools, Medicaid matching relief, and Earned Income Tax Credit reimbursement…measures that could provide millions in new local help.
Bordallo says Puerto Rico’s problems won’t be solved by debt restructuring alone…and without cross-jurisdictional fixes, Guam and the outlying islands could be headed down the same road as Puerto Rico. She says the White House recognizes this. “The administration’s proposal includes the other territories, in removing the caps on the Medicaid program, readjusting our ‘F-Maps,’ as well as providing a cover-over to the mirror tax code jurisdiction, on providing E-I-T-C. I simply do not believe, that the proposals we are looking at now, will resolve Puerto Rico’s problems. So, we are doing all that we can in ensuring that what is happening to Puerto Rico, does not happen to the rest of us,” says Bordallo.
Bordallo, Sablan and Radewagen co-sponsored legislation earlier to fully fund the Earned Income Tax Credit in the territories.
Interior Assistant Secretary Esther Kia’aina recently announced Administration support to lift the island Medicaid cap and provide a cover-over tax reimbursement for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The changes represent one of the few ways Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs can increase the size of the ‘budget pie’ for the islands, amid continued budget austerity in Washington, and after decades of inadequate reimbursement for Compact impact costs.