PROMESA's Co-author Will 'Push' Legislative Leaders to be Responsible with the Law
Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, who introduced the PROMESA bill, was the special guest of the Private Sector Coalition (CPS) at a luncheon at the Morton's Steakhouse restaurant at the Caribe Hilton Hotel.
Two years ago he visited Puerto Rico accompanied by his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy, and realized that 'there were significant problems' in the island. 'Before I came, nobody was talking about Puerto Rico,' he said.
Many people demanded some action, so he spent eight months to a year devising legislation that would address the economic problems of the United States. 'I hope they do not love it; I hope they do not hate it', he told businessmen.
The congressman compared the situation of Puerto Rico with his home state, Wisconsin. 'In some communities you have children leaving, where is the young talent? So you have to be accurate in this. Democrats wanted to politicize with PROMESA (...) The Fiscal Control Board (FCB) if we do not have an intervention, how much more are we going to borrow? What would be the tools for Puerto Rico? If there were anything easier, we would have supported it. We will push their legislative leaders to be accountable to the Board', he said.
On the problem of parity of funds in Medicaid and Medicare, Duffy urged to those present to travel to Washington to have their voices heard. And he mentioned that the president of the House of Representatives of USA, Paul Ryan, is aware of the problems we face.
On the other hand, he assured that the president, Donald Trump, will not penalize the island for customs imports. 'We know of your concerns about taxes. You will be included as in the United States, you will not be charged customs imports', he said in reference to the tax reform that the Republican majority works in the federal Congress.
During a short interaction with the press, Duffy answered only two questions and assured that he wants to know 'the truth, the good and bad things that PROMESA brought.' One journalist questioned whether he is considering making amendments to the federal law to extend litigation with creditors or to be clearer in the language established in case Puerto Rico goes bankrupt. 'We are open to all possibilities, see the different delegations that have gone to Washington and have been very frank with us, we are going to consider everything,' he replied. And about the bill introduced by the resident commissioner, Jenniffer González, for statehood and seeking equality of conditions for Puerto Rico, Duffy said he will have to see the legislation.
Among the guests was the president of the Restaurant Association (Asore), Ramón Leal; president of the Chamber of Commerce, David Rodríguez Ortiz; president of the Association of Hospitals, Jaime Plá; president of the College of Engineers and Surveyors in Puerto Rico, Ralph A. Kreil Rivera; president of the Association of Certified Public Accountants (CCPA), Luis A. Zayas, as well as former president Zulmarie Urrutia-Vélez; president of the Retail Trade Association, Iván Baéz; representative of the College of Optometrists of Puerto Rico, among others.
There was also representation of the United Center of Retailers (CU), and a specialized team of professionals who work areas of finance for the Coalition.
The event was organized as a fundraiser for the private sector in its lobbying efforts at Congress in favor of measures that achieve progress in the economy of Puerto Rico and other needs of the non-profit organization. The organizers of the activity were Marilú Otero, executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Products Association in conjunction with the executive director of the Puerto Rico Restaurant Association (Asore), Gadiel Lebrón. Each plate cost $195 and there were 85 attendees, Otero told NotiCel.