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For Immediate Release

Monday, November 02, 2015

Statement by AFSCME President Lee Saunders and UAW President Dennis Williams on the Obama Administration’s plan to assist Puerto Rico

Washington, D.C. — 

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and UAW President Dennis Williams issued the following joint statement on the Obama Administration’s plan to assist Puerto Rico:

“Our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico have suffered enormously over the past ten years as economic activity has declined and government services have been slashed. Now, predatory hedge fund operators are circling like vultures anxious to feed on the misery brought about by ten years of austerity that has exacerbated the island’s economic decline. Proposals for additional austerity and further erosion of economic and living standards for the people of Puerto Rico are neither advisable nor practical. Confronting this near desperate situation, the President and his economic team at the Department of the Treasury have stepped up to the plate with a bold and essential plan. Now, it’s time for the Congress to engage with the Administration and demonstrate that it still has the capacity to effectively govern and solve significant problems affecting the American people. Doing nothing is not an option.

The Administration’s plan puts the people of Puerto Rico on more equal footing with the 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding federal health care programs and the Earned Income Tax Credit. It provides Puerto Rico with a rational process to restructure its debt and maintain fiscal discipline. The plan addresses the critical challenges facing the Puerto Rican people: health care and fiscal crises driven by an exceedingly weak economy and eroding standards of living. The general plan offered by the Administration is not a bail out, but a road map to recovery. It is worthy of support and we call on the Congress to work with the Administration to fully develop a package to resolve the critical problems facing the Puerto Rican people. Our unions stand ready to assist in any way possible.”

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