In the wake of the U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement that it will support bankruptcy protection for debt-stricken Puerto Rico, V.I. Delegate Stacey Plaskett said she wants Congress to help the Virgin Islands too.
“While I applaud the efforts of the administration to call upon Congress to help our sister territory, I intend to make sure any assistance proposed in Congress is sure to include the U.S. Virgin Islands in the discussion,” Plaskett said in a statement.
Unlike the Virgin Islands and other territories, Puerto Rico does not fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Interior, but under the auspices of the White House, which is why the administration made the announcement, Plaskett said.
"That does not mean, however, that Puerto Rico’s issues are unique. The U.S. Virgin Islands may be smaller in area and population than our sister territory of Puerto Rico, but we face the same economic development challenges and we have suffered even more in the wake of the recent Great Recession,” Plaskett said.
"While the territories must create new revenues and implement greater fiscal accountability, the federal government must do its part to reverse the decades of benign neglect, which has partially excluded the territories out of the broader benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and other impactful legislation," she said. She said she intends to "be a clear voice in the debate around any assistance emerging from Congress."
Plaskett said that she would be reaching out to the Obama Administration and members of Congress to discuss the Puerto Rico recovery proposal, which she said includes adjustments to Medicaid, bankruptcy protection for the Puerto Rico government and legislation to provide protection for Puerto Rico municipalities.