WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo testified today before the House Rules Committee to request that two amendments she filed be made in order for debate on H.R. 5278, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). She also testified in support of amendments submitted by Rep. Kilili Sablan (CNMI) and Rep. Amata Radewagen (American Samoa).
Bordallo submitted a bipartisan amendment that would provide parity for Guam and other U.S. territories in the administration of Medicaid. Her amendment would eliminate the territories’ Medicaid caps and increase the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) to state-like levels. Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendment was cosponsored by Reps. Kilili Sablan (CNMI), Pedro Pierluisi (Puerto Rico), Amata Radewagen (American Samoa), and Stacey Plaskett (Virgin Islands). Her amendment builds off recommendations from the Obama Administration proposed in their FY17 budget proposal and which they requested be included in the initial Puerto Rico legislation.
Bordallo also submitted the text of her bill, H.R. 3642, as an amendment that would provide flexibility to the Government of Guam in extending Social Security eligibility to new government hires. The amendment would change existing federal law that requires Guam to enroll all government employees in Social Security if it decided to extend the program to government workers. Her amendment addresses local senators’ request that only certain Government of Guam employees be eligible for social security to ensure the hybrid retirement plans are feasible and cost effective.
Bordallo further testified in favor of amendments offered by Sablan that would provide a federal cover over to the territories for the Earned Income Tax Credit and by Radewagen that would provide federal cover over to the territories for the Child Tax Credit. She was a cosponsor of both amendments and has worked with her colleagues on several occasions to rectify these issues through standalone legislation or omnibus packages.
“Puerto Rico’s debt crisis cannot be resolved through debt restructuring alone. This debt crisis was caused by underlying issues caused by the unequal treatment of the territories in federal programs. The amendments my colleagues and I offered would provide much needed fixes to the disparities our territories experience with regard to Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit. My Social Security amendment would also enable Guam to proactively address the shortcomings of GovGuam’s retirement system, a system that has similar challenges as Puerto Rico’s and was a factor in Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.”
“Addressing these issues would help our local governments focus more on economic development and improving infrastructure to support our economies and families. The policy issues addressed in the amendments filed by myself and the other territorial delegates would help to address these legacy issues once and for all. I hope that the Republican leadership will to find the political will to address the systemic challenges now, to avoid any crisis in the future. I will continue to work with my colleagues to address these issues so that our territories do not experience a similar situation as in Puerto Rico.”