First Lady Jill Biden visited Ft. Buchanan in Puerto Rico, speaking with military families as part of her Joining Forces program. Joining Forces is a mission to support military families, caregivers, and survivors through providing help with employment and entrepreneurship for military spouses, education for children of military families, and health for military and veteran families and caregivers.

Dr. Biden attended a barbecue and spoke with the families at Ft. Buchanan, saying, “Puerto Rico matters to the president. You all matter to him.”

She went on to list some of the efforts the administration has made to provide greater equality for the territory.

“So as a military mom and as your first lady, I’m here to let you know how much all of you mean to me personally and to the commander in chief, President Biden. Thank you for everything you do every day for Puerto Rico and our nation,” she said. “And President Biden is working every day to make sure people in Puerto Rico have the resources and support they need. That is why he has invested in Puerto Rico, creating more than 100,000 jobs and providing billions for infrastructure. He has fought the drug companies and lowered the cost of insulin. He has made sure that Puerto Rican families get the same tax credit as the rest of the nation, the child tax credit. And Joe is calling on Congress to do the same for SNAP, Medicaid and SSI [Supplemental Security Income].”

Equality for Puerto Rico

The Biden administration and many members of Congress have recently made significant efforts to improve the position of Puerto Rico, calling for a transition to SNAP, demanding equal healthcare funding, and bringing the Puerto Rico Status Act to the House and the Senate. This is greater progress than we have seen in many years. It is, in fact, bringing Puerto Rico closer to equity with the states than ever before.

But we cannot overlook the fact that statehood would automatically provide equality for Puerto Rico.

As a state, Puerto Rico would not be fighting for a transition to SNAP. Puerto Rico would be covered by SNAP, and would receive the same kind of nutrition assistance that all the states receive.

As a state, Puerto Rico would not be begging for adequate healthcare funding. Medicare and Medicaid would be equal to the programs in the states.

SSI would be automatically available for eligible people in Puerto Rico. The Supreme Court ruled that as long as Puerto Rico is a territory, Congress can choose not to provide the same level of coverage, even though residents of Puerto Rico pay into Social Security. As a state, Puerto Rico would be covered.

These are not pie in the sky claims. The U.S. Constitution  simply says that all states are on an equal footing. This is the law of the land. As a state, Puerto Rico would provide her 3.2 million U.S. citizens with the full rights and protection of the U.S. Constitution. It’s as simple as that. Contact your legislators today and let them know that Puerto Rico is important to you, too.



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