Velázquez sees no future for legislation impacting PR in current Congress
By The Star Staff
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez Serrano (D-N.Y.) described the current Congress controlled by Republicans as a shop of horrors characterized by a lack of movement of bills and said she does not see any key bills impacting Puerto Rico getting passed.
“They have not passed any major bills,” she said.
Last week, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) went to ask his fellow Republicans in the House about major bills that he can speak about to his constituents, Velázquez noted.
Speaking in an interview on a podcast hosted by former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, the veteran congresswoman noted the House lost three weeks of work after having expelled Kevin McCarthy as speaker because of a dispute over the budget and factional strife within the Republican majority delegation.
The new speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) managed to extend the current fiscal year budget. Velázquez said Democrats have played a key role in keeping the government open.
Regarding the proposal to transfer Puerto Rico to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the current PAN program in Puerto Rico, Velázquez said the SNAP contains certain work requirements and would provide more funds. She said the bill does not have Republican support.
“I don’t think this will happen in this Congress,” she said. “It will be something that may happen in 2024.”
Regarding whether the status bill will be discussed in Congress, Velázquez was blunt.
“No,” she said. “I spoke with the [House Committee on] Natural Resources chairman [Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)] and he said he does not support statehood and will not hold any public hearings.”
Velázquez said she does not see bills that could impact Puerto Rico getting approval.
“Most Republicans in the House oppose statehood for Puerto Rico,” she said.
The congresswoman from New York City said the House’s actions show that Congress is still controlled by former President Donald Trump.