Washington - The House leadership has allowed Rep. Nydia Velázquez (New York) to join three subcommittees and return to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where –this time in the majority- she plans to oversee the debt debate and the future of Puerto Rico´s energy system.
She said that this Congress she will keep on looking for ways to address the issue of Puerto Rico's debt; improving energy production and distribution on the island and working to resolve public health issues and environmental problems that affect Puerto Ricans.
Velázquez had joined the House Committee on Natural Resources in the first half of the 115th Congress, after working closely with the congressional Democratic leadership on the island´s fiscal and economic issues. This Committee has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico, including the island´s political status.
There are now five representatives of Puerto Rican descent in Congress Committees, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the appointment of Velázquez and Darren Soto (Florida) to Natural Resources.
Velázquez had already been approved to serve as chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business and she is also a senior member of the Financial Services Committee with jurisdiction over the Treasury.
Although she voted for PROMESA since she considered it was the only path Congress could offer to restructure Puerto Rico´s debt, Velázquez said that the government´s debt obligations are unpayable and should be canceled.
Soto had already been appointed to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce with jurisdiction on health care issues such as Medicaid.
Jenniffer González, Resident Commissioner in Washington, is part of the Republican minority of the Natural Resources Committee but she was also named to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that addresses issues such investment plans for infrastructure and cabotage regulations.
Meanwhile, congressman José Serrano (New York) was elected Chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Subcommittee which oversees several important agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others.
The newest Democratic member –and also the most famous one- Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (New York) joined the Committees on Financial Services and Oversight and Government Reform.
A few days ago, Ocasio Cortez told El Nuevo Día that she is planning to send a series of questions to the Treasury regarding Puerto Rico´s financial situation and the Board imposed in 2016, which oversees the island´s public finances as part of the debt restructuring process.
Democratic representative Elijah Cummings (Maryland), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, announced a "wide-ranging" probe into the government of Donald Trump, including the federal response to Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, the firing of FBI director James Comey and ties with Russia.