Congressman Serrano Announces Successful Inclusion of Key Language Related to PR in Appropriations Bills
Washington, DC – Congressman Serrano today announced the successful inclusion of report language related to Puerto Rico in the E&W, DoD, and CJS Appropriations Committee Reports. These provisions, some of which were recommended by the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, will help ensure that Puerto Rico is treated fairly by the federal government.
“The government of Puerto Rico needs our help to continue addressing important issues like the cleanup of Vieques and tackle other important issues in these difficult times. As I’ve said time and time again, when it comes to the allocation of our government resources and access to government programs, territories like Puerto Rico get the short end of the stick. Far too often, it is an uphill battle to ensure Puerto Rico is treated equally, so I’m proud to once again work to help the government and the people of Puerto Rico have access to the resources they need to address their needs,” said Congressman Serrano.
In the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, where Congressman Serrano is the Ranking Member, Serrano inserted language directing the Department of Commerce to calculate Puerto Rico’s Gross Domestic Product- something that the Department does for every other state and territory of our nation. He also included language asking the Department to work with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands to eliminate an onerous requirement mandating reporting of certain good shipped between the states and these territories. Both of these changes will help individuals, businesses, and the government of Puerto Rico to better engage in detailed economic analysis of the needs and opportunities in Puerto Rico, and will put Puerto Rico on equal footing with other states and territories.
Additionally, Congressman Serrano successfully included language to help with the ongoing cleanup of Vieques and Culebra in the Department of Defense Appropriations. He also inserted language in the Energy and Water Appropriations report urging the Department of Energy to offer technical and other programmatic assistance to Puerto Rico to support investment in innovative environmental technologies.
A full list of the report and legislation language included in the various Appropriations bills follows below:
DoD Report Language:
VIEQUES AND CULEBRA ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION
The Committee remains interested in the pace and scope of environmental restoration on the island municipalities of Culebra and Vieques in Puerto Rico. The Committee encourages the Secretary of the Navy to work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board to maximize public participation and transparency in the decontamination process in order to achieve a thorough decontamination result on both islands. The Committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act detailing all decontamination authorities and plans applicable to Culebra and Vieques, to include particular emphasis on the decontamination of the northwest peninsula of Culebra.
E&W Report Language:
EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
The Committee encourages EERE to offer technical and other programmatic assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to support investment in innovative technologies to effectively reduce power system emissions, efficiently treat wastewater, produce biofuels, and generate power from solid waste.
Modernizing Economic Statistics in Puerto Rico.—The Committee urges the Department to continue its efforts to help the government of Puerto Rico to modernize its economic statistics programs, and directs the Department, through the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), to initiate efforts to calculate gross domestic product (GDP) for Puerto Rico, just as BEA currently does for every other U.S. jurisdiction. The Committee additionally urges the Department to work toward the inclusion of all U.S. territories--alongside the 50 states and the District of Columbia--in BEA's national-level GDP estimates, which will require the territory-level GDP data to meet all of BEA's quality standards. The Department shall report to the Committee on these efforts--both of which were recommended by the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico--within 90 days of enactment of this Act.
Interstate Commerce.--The Committee has heard concerns about the Electronic Export Information (EEI) requirement located in 15 CFR Part 30, which mandates reporting for certain goods shipped between the States and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Committee urges the Department to work in coordination with the governments of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as other Federal agencies and stakeholders, to identify alternative data sources that provide equivalent statistics on the shipments of goods among the territories and the States to achieve the same statistical objectives, while reducing the impact on commerce.