The First Lady visited Puerto Rico last week. Now it is the Vice President’s turn. Vice President Kamala Harris will visit a home in Canóvanas and a community center in San Juan.

Vice President Harris is expected to focus on the current administrations efforts to improve conditions in Puerto Rico, referencing the American Recovery Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

White House messaging

“Vice President Harris will highlight how Puerto Rico’s economic turnaround has begun thanks to more than $140 billion in Federal obligations for the island supported by unprecedented whole-of-government partnerships through the Puerto Rico Economic Dialogue,” says a message from the White House.  “Since President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, Puerto Rico has added more than 100,000 new jobs. This includes construction employment, which is up by close to 30 percent. Unemployment is now at a historic low of under six percent, and labor force participation is growing to the highest level in more than a decade. And in 2023, Puerto Rico had its first year of positive net migration since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This central message leads some observers to say that Harris’s visit is intended primarily to encourage Puerto Rican voters living in the states to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket in November.

Local response

The Daily Mail reported comments by Puerto Rico Senator William Villafañe, who informed the Daily Mail “that Puerto Rico residents remained disadvantaged, lacking access to government welfare programs like Medicare Part B enrollment, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Medicare Extra Help for prescriptions, all the while suffering from an exodus of doctors from the island because of lower government reimbursement rates.”

‘This visit should serve as a wake-up call for bipartisan action to hold the administration accountable and deliver tangible solutions that prioritize the well-being of all American citizens, including those in Puerto Rico,’ the Senator continued. “Puerto Rico has voted three times to become a state. The Administration and Congress must take action to ensure equal protection and equity across all federal programs.”



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