Washington, D.C. - In designing the agenda on the infrastructure needs for Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories under the BuildBackBetter plan, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman said yesterday that equity and fair treatment will guide his recommendations.
“We need to do something about SSI (Social Security Income), we need to do something about Medicaid in order to bring that fairness issue to light,” Grijalva said in listing two of the issues he supports during an online public hearing which included Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi and the other territories governors as witnesses.
“The other point is that this is the face of American citizens in a region of the world, particularly (U.S.) The Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, a face that I think is important for national security, for diplomacy in that region, and the competition both economically and in other ways. So I think showing an American face in the region that is prosperous, with equity as American citizens…that has resources to take care of their people and to grow their economies and their people, I think it´s the best diplomacy we can provide for that region as an example of what democracy can do,” Grijalva added.
Recommendations by the territories’ governors during the online public hearing will help the Natural Resources Committee leadership list its priorities for a bill that is President Joe Biden’s next major legislative undertaking and may include everything from direct appropriations for infrastructure to social impact measures.
Biden’s infrastructure plan may include funding for roads, bridges, internet access, and green energy initiatives.
But the legislation will also include President Biden’s domestic priorities, such as making permanent the increase in reimbursement for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) - now fully implemented in Puerto Rico - free college education at community colleges, and social programs.