Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona said that statehood for Puerto Rico would be a “miracle of miracles,” according to local paper Noticias. Grijalva, the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, visited San Juan to check on progress toward rebuilding the Island, and to discuss the PROMESA oversight board.
Grijalva proposed some changes to the board. For one thing, he would like the federal government to take over its funding. Currently, Puerto Rico must pay for the board.
Grijalva also spoke of putting a commissioner in place to oversee Puerto Rico’s rebuilding, and of an audit of Puerto Rico’s debt.
Thomas Rivera Schatz, president of Puerto Rico’s Senate, asked Grijalva to repeal PROMESA, the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act. He also brought up the Farm Bill which made cockfighting illegal in Puerto Rico.
Rep. Grijalva said after his last visit to Puerto Rico that he could see the majority of Puerto Ricans favor statehood. During Gov. Rossello’s chat scandal, Grijalva suggested that statehood could be a “cure” for the government’s problems. “Now you’re going to be under the same regulatory oversight that states are,” he said.
Grijalva cosponsored the Puerto Rico Admission Process Act in 2015, but since stepping into the leadership of the Natural Resources Committee, has delayed consideration of Puerto Rico’s status. He has confirmed that he intends to have a conversation on the subject, but also has said more than once that he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be an obstacle to an admission bill for Puerto Rico this term.
Grijalva also discussed environmental issues with Governor Vazquez Garced and other leaders.
It is good that Grijalva recognizes that Puerto Rico is ready for statehood, and we hope that he helps Congress get ready, too.