The governor Wanda Vázquez He started his agenda this week in Washington D.C. with meetings in the departments of Health and Education, whose assignments to the island were marked by recent cases of corruption in the government of Puerto Rico.
In federal Health, Vázquez discussed the future of various federal grants, at a time when Congress discusses legislation that would prevent a collapse in the health system of Puerto Rico in the absence of funds from Medicaid.
Vázquez was going to be accompanied by the Washington-based commissioner, Jenniffer González, the secretary of Health, Rafael Rodriguez, and the director of the Federal Affairs Administration of Puerto Rico (PRFAA), Jennifer Storipan, according to the preliminary agenda of La Fortaleza.
In the afternoon, Vázquez would meet with the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Frank Brogan, along with the Secretary of Education of Puerto Rico, Eligio Hernández Pérez.
Vázquez has indicated that at a time when federal controls to Puerto Rico are increased, he seeks to restore credibility.
In the federal House of Representatives, the Energy and Commerce Committee has pending legislation that would allocate $ 12 billion in Medicaid funds to Puerto Rico for the next four federal fiscal years. But, the measure has already been imposed restrictions, such as requiring audits on the use of Medicaid funds, and Commissioner Gonzalez has indicated that in order to move forward in the Senate, new controls will be necessary.
In Education, meanwhile, the federal government has a process in place to force the government of Puerto Rico to hire a fiduciary agent, a kind of trustee, to handle a large part of the federal funds it receives.
The most recent corruption charges on the Island linked funds from the Education and Health departments, and included the arrests of former Secretary of Education Julia Keleher and the former director of the Health Insurance Administration (ASES) Ángela Ávila.
"The main purpose of this visit to the federal capital is to restore relations with federal entities that are key in the disbursement of funds for the recovery of Puerto Rico and the projects that allow the social and economic development of the island", Vázquez said, in a press release.
Vázquez's agenda includes meetings tomorrow with the director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs of the White House, Doug Hoelscher, and others with the secretaries of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, Housing, Ben Carso, and the deputy secretary of Energy for the Office of Electricity, Bruce Walker.
On Wednesday, meanwhile, he will meet with Puerto Rican congressmen José Serrano (New York), Nydia Velázquez (New York) and Darren Soto (Florida). Also with the Republican spokesman in the Natural Resources Committee of the lower house, Rob Bishop (Utah).
In addition, on Thursday he will meet with FEMA interim administrator, Peter Gaynor, and deputy administrator, Jeff Byard. He will also have meetings in Congress with the president of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Republican Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Republican Senator Rick Scott (Florida), Republican Congressman Greg Walden (Oregon) and Democratic Congressman Stephanie Murphy (Florida).
The delegation of the government of Puerto Rico includes the secretaries of the Treasury, Francisco Parés; Education, Eligio Hernández; Health, Rafael Rodríguez; Housing, Fernando Gil Enseñat; the director of the Financial Advisory Agency and Fiscal Agency (AAFAF), Omar Marrero; the representative before the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) Elí Diaz Atienza; and the director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, Ottmar Chavez.
The presidents of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, and the House of Representatives, Carlos "Johnny" Méndez, also have their own meetings, although they would accompany Vázquez to the Housing and Energy meetings.
The spokesmen of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) in the Senate, Eduardo Bhatia, and in the House of Representatives, Rafael "Tatito" Hernández, head, for their part, a group of legislators and popular mayors who have meetings this week in the US capital .
Governor Vázquez plans to return to the island on Friday.
. (tagsToTranslate) federal funds (t) jenniffer gonzalez (t) wanda vázquez (t) washington d.c.