On September 15, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and eight other Latino Members of Congress sent a letter to the Treasury Department explaining why the federal government should take a more active role in helping Puerto Rico during the current fiscal crisis.
“The world is watching Puerto Rico,” the letter read, “and we must ensure that the United States does everything within its power to take substantive actions to resolve this crisis.”
Days later Senator Menendez spoke on the Senate floor, repeating that the world is watching Puerto Rico.
He demanded that Congress step in and provide real help “before the crisis becomes a calamity.” He reminded his listeners that the people of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens and asked for approval of the bills that would extend chapter 9 bankruptcy to Puerto Rico.
“Puerto Rico would actually be running a surplus if it did not have to make debt payments,” he said, speaking up for the bankruptcy bills, “and it would not cost U.S. taxpayers a dime.”
Menendez also asked for equal treatment for Puerto Rico in medical programs.
“I am not calling for a federal bailout for Puerto Rico,” Menendez said, “but there is much that we can and should do to restore solvency to the Island that is home to 3.5 million Americans.”
He went on to remind his fellow Senators of the “long and proud history of fighting on the side of America.” He mentioned the service of Puerto Rican soldiers in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.
He also reminded them of the “unequal treatment of Puerto Rico,” saying that “the lack of federal support has encouraged heavy borrowing by the Puerto Rican government.”
He concluded by saying, “The time has come to help Puerto Rico.”
Watch the full speech in the video above.
Have your legislators stepped up yet to support Puerto Rico? Tell them that they should.