Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on the news that the White House has reactivated the federal Interagency Working Group on Puerto Rico.
“The Biden administration has committed to resolving the serious issues affecting the territory and its residents, and I sincerely commend them for this decision,” Grijalva said. “I look forward to supporting the Task Force’s work, and I encourage the Biden administration to assign full-time staff to support it. The most effective version of this task force would also provide advice on policies and initiatives to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status and advance the island’s fiscal recovery, and I hope its mandate includes these vital roles.”
Grijalva has been a leading voice in encouraging the Biden administration to establish a new Interagency Working Group on Puerto Rico. He wrote to the Biden-Harris Transition Team in December of 2020 outlining a number of priorities to consider on Puerto Rico policy, including the creation of a federal working group to provide advice on resolving the island’s political status, investing in public resources, and promoting fiscal recovery and disaster reconstruction.
In September of 2020, Grijalva made public the Trump administration’s decision to not reactivate the Task Force on Puerto Rico, which had traditionally been renewed by previous administrations since President Bill Clinton created the first interagency working group on Puerto Rico in 2000.
The Biden administration’s creation of an Interagency Working Group on Puerto Rico marks the renewal of this tradition and a long-term executive investment in Puerto Rico’s future. The secretaries of Education, Energy, Health, Interior, Transportation, Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Labor met today to discuss policies to support Puerto Rico’s reconstruction, COVID-19 response, and economic development measures for the island.
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