Nueva York - The effectiveness of the consultant to the government of Puerto Rico, Corey Lewandowski, former campaign director for Donald Trump, has been placed in doubt, following the twits and expressions by the resident of the White House declaring war on the allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars to Medicaid for Puerto Rico.
Together with his partner Barry Bennett, who led the presidential campaign of Ben Carson before joining Trump’s camp, Lewandowski created a lobbying and consulting firm under the name of Avenue Strategies, with offices close to the White House.
Since March, and effective through June, Avenue Strategies has a consulting contract worth $125,000 with the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA).
To his clients, according to Politico, he has offered access to the White House, because, it is said, he still has a direct line to president Trump.
But, in the last two weeks, the government of Ricardo Rosselló has received direct blows from the Trump government. First, the United States Department of Justice changed the game rules for a plebiscite on status that claimed to seek the decolonization of Puerto Rico, to force it to include the territorial status in effect.
And this week, at the beat of twits and in an interview with Reuters, president Trump described as a “financial bailout” the mere intention by the government of Puerto Rico to attempt and replace part of the $1.2 billion that Obamacare has granted in Medicaid funds to the Island.
During an interview with Reuters, Trump went further in his criticism toward the allocation of new Medicaid funds for Puerto Rico, insisting on depicting it as a financial bailout. “I don’t believe that is fair to the people of Wisconsin and Ohio and North Carolina and Pennsylvania that we should be bailing Puerto Rico out with billions and billions of dollars,” Trump said.
The proposal being debated in Congress makes no reference at this time to “billions of dollars,” but rather the possibility of granting, perhaps, between $562 million and $900 million in Medicaid funds to Puerto Rico for next fiscal year, given the expiration of the allocations made by the Obamacare law by the end of 2017.
The United States secretary of Health, Tom Price, himself, sent a letter to Congress recommending the allocation of $900 million in Medicaid funds for Puerto Rico.
“Hiring Lewandowski to lobby has not saved Puerto Rico from unpleasant twits,” said Bloomberg.
Lewandowski has said his work focuses on carrying out efforts on behalf of this clients with the federal Executive and that he is not a lobbyist to pressure Congress. Although governor Rosselló is a democrat, the resident commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González, and PRFAA director, Carlos Mercader, identify themselves with the republicans in the US.
The republican platform, with the support from the Trump campaign team, had given hopes to statehood supporters, because it expresses support for admitting Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the Union if that alternative won an upcoming referendum on the Island’s status.
But, the US Department of Justice, in a letter dated April 13, to governor Rosselló, rejected the effect of the 2012 plebiscite results, the same that the New Progressive Party (PNP, by its Spanish acronym) uses to forecast the upcoming consultation as a ratification vote in favor of statehood. Rosselló says that obtaining the support from the Department of Justice for an upcoming plebiscite would be equal to holding a consultation with the support of the federal Executive.
But, when told this week about the position of the Department of Justice on the 2012 plebiscite, he then said that “it is the White House who has a bearing on this.”
Yesterday, La Fortaleza, following a request for a statement form the PRFAA over whether the government is satisfied with Lewandowski’s work, said “at this time” they had no comments.
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