Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives President, Carlos Mendez, travelled to the federal capital Sunday to hold a series of meetings in the White House and Congress as part of efforts to accelerate the disbursement of federal funds allocated to the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria in September 2017 and to boost Puerto Rico’s admission as a state.

“We have been active in advancing Puerto Rico’s agenda in the federal capital since 2017. This week’s visit focuses on the need to recognize that the island has a stable, transparent and effective government. That message is very important. We are also going to request that the disbursement of funds assigned for the reconstruction after Maria be expedited,” Mendez said in a press release.

“Those resources, about $42 billion, have to be distributed now. That money is for the reconstruction of some 20,000 homes, to rehabilitate highways and bridges, as well as to rebuild medical and port facilities; those resources have to come,” the legislative leader said.

Accompanying the Speaker of the House on this important visit will be representatives José Aponte, José Meléndez, Jackeline Rodríguez and Antonio Soto.

There will also be a group of legislators from the parliamentary minority in the delegation.
“For me, the most important thing is to make it clear to federal executive officials, as well as to congressmen, that the admission of Puerto Rico is the only way to ensure, among many other things, equal treatment in the disbursement of federal funds associated with disasters, equal treatment in reimbursements for Medicaid and equal treatment in funds for housing, among others,” he said.

“The genesis of some comments on Puerto Rico by federal officials is the inequality of powers, because we are colony and we do not have representation in Congress. If we were a state, as the people have asked at the polls, freely and democratically, everything would be different, the funds would arrive immediately, the comments would be in favor of everything; the biggest problem is the colony and that is what we have to solve. The mission of this visit is precisely that, to ask for equality, admission,” he concluded.

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