In the few days left in the year, Congress is considering the following items that could destroy or restore Puerto Rico:
· Disaster Relief for the US island territory
· Health Legislation that ends or continues the inequity between US Citizens on the island and those on the mainland
· Federal Tax Legislation that increases by 20% the excise taxes on island products sold in the US. Puerto Rico based businesses are treated as "foreign corporations."
In response, the National Puerto Rican Agenda, Unidos PA'PR, and PA4PR are encouraging all who care about Puerto Rico to call Congress and ask their elected officials to provide the humanitarian help that the island's 3.5 million US citizens need to improve the US territory.
· Provide a fair amount of Disaster Relief on par with that of other US hurricane tragedies. Physical damage and lost economic productivity in Puerto Rico is estimated to be $95 billion. Provide disaster assistance without putting Puerto Rico further in debt by waiving the FEMA cost-sharing mechanism required to receive assistance programs and by forgiving FEMA Community Disaster Loans as it was done with Hurricane Katrina.
· Remove the cap on Federal Medicaid funds provided to Puerto Rico and make residents of the US territory eligible for the same Medicare benefits afforded to mainland seniors. Hurricane Maria aggravated the pre-existing healthcare crisis and funding gap, further incentivizing Puerto Ricans to move to the mainland where they can receive full benefits. Congress must also temporarily increase the Federal Medicaid matching rate for Puerto Rico to 100%, just as it was raised for Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
· Ensure that Tax Reform does no harm to Puerto Rico. The new tax legislation presently considered by Congress must:
§ NOT levy a 20% excise tax on goods manufactured in Puerto Rico by subsidiaries of US corporations
§ NOT tax 12.5% of income from intellectual property held by US corporations in Puerto Rico
§ EXTEND the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit to all families in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has earned the right to be treated fairly by Congress. There are more US veterans living on the island than there are US veterans living in the District of Colombia and in each of the following eight states: Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
Since 1917, more than 700,000 Puerto Ricans have served in the US armed forces. Puerto Rican soldiers have participated, with distinction, in all US theaters of war (WWI; WWII; Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan).
Please (Por favor) -
· Call your member of Congress ASAP and ask them to:
§ Provide Puerto Rico with a fair amount of Disaster Relief on par with that of other US hurricane tragedies.
§ Remove the cap on Federal Medicaid funds provided to Puerto Rico and make residents of the US territory eligible for the same Medicare benefits afforded to mainland seniors.
§ Ensure that 'Tax Reform' does no harm to Puerto Rico - STOP the 20% excise tax on Puerto Rican goods sold in the US mainland.
· Thank them for their hard work
· Let them know that you intend to stay in touch with their office because you want humane treatment for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico depends on YOU to be its voice.
Although Puerto Rico is a US Territory and its residents are US citizens, the people who live on the island do not have the right to vote for President, nor the right to have US Senators or voting members of the US House of Representatives. It is up to YOU to make the US Congress live up to the ideals that helped to forge it in Philadelphia. Chief among those ideals was 'No taxation without representation.'
Thank you for helping Puerto Rico. Encourage others to add their voice to our humane chorus.