Top religion leaders from throughout the United States on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to instantly withdraw a lawsuit filed by his predecessor to block $2.3 billion in supplemental revenue payments to some 300,000 aged, blind and disabled Puerto Ricans.
Catholic Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, the top of Catholic Charities USA, and leaders from different church buildings additionally referred to as on Biden to use govt orders and again congressional motion to entice extra pharmaceutical and different manufacturing jobs to the Caribbean island, a U.S. territory of three.2 million individuals hit onerous by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration must also release extra catastrophe aid help for the island and develop federal packages such because the Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicare, they stated.
“Nearly 60% of Puerto Rico’s children, U.S. citizens, live in poverty and would benefit from these measures,” they wrote within the letter, delivered to the White House on Tuesday.
Puerto Rico was already reeling from chapter, extreme earthquakes and two devastating 2017 hurricanes, Irma and Maria when the pandemic hit. The signers welcomed the Biden administration’s launch of some hurricane recovery funds, however stated $50 billion extra was wanted.
Biden campaigned towards the “current untenable situation” in Puerto Rico and pledged to enhance federal catastrophe help, end discriminatory practices, and rebuild the island’s “significantly deficient infrastructure.”
But his administration has not but scrapped the Justice Department’s lawsuit below former President Donald Trump to block an April 2020 federal appeals court docket ruling permitting eligible Puerto Ricans to apply for supplemental Social Security advantages.
The Justice Department declined to remark. No remark was instantly accessible from the White House.
The advantages had been accessible to any U.S. citizen residing in any of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the Mariana Islands, however not Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
Eric LeCompte, govt director of Jubilee USA Network, stated the letter was meant to provoke motion by the Biden administration to assist Puerto Ricans, who’ve confronted “crisis after crisis, disaster after disaster” over the previous decade.