a strong voice for
Senator Rubio cherishes the historic bond uniting the State of Florida and our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. Having a great working relationship with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, Rubio is a strong voice for Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Senate. During his tenure, Rubio has advanced and co-led multiple legislative initiatives in support of the island.
Puerto Rico’s admission into the union
As a staunch supporter of Puerto Rico’s admission into the union as the 51st state, Rubio has reiterated his commitment to advancing the strategy and economic reforms to help promote Puerto Rico’s statehood. Important fiscal provisions, such as the Puerto Rico Economic Empowerment Act of 2018, which Rubio introduced with former Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), sought to implement recommendations by the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico and to help alleviate the tax burden for Puerto Ricans who were rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Leadership During Maria
In 2017, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Rubio fought for, and secured, federal support to ensure the island was able to recover and prepare for future natural disasters.
“The situation in Puerto Rico is a growing humanitarian crisis. We cannot afford to sit idly by while over three million Americans on the island endure unimaginable hardship. My office and I will do everything in our power to help Puerto Rico receive the assistance they need.” – Rubio on September 27, 2017
working to help our fellow citizens
Even before Hurricane Maria impacted the shores of Yabucoa in 2017, Rubio began working to help our fellow citizens ahead of this destructive storm. Rubio prioritized the island’s permanent recovery, and five days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, he surveyed the island with members of the Coast Guard and Congresswoman González-Colón. The following day, Rubio spoke on the Senate floor to explain the growing humanitarian crisis caused by Hurricane Maria.
“We have a fundamental obligation to Puerto Rico to respond to a hurricane there the way we would anywhere in the country,” Rubio stated. Not only did the Senator deploy staff to the island to assist federal and local officials with the island’s recovery efforts, Rubio’s regional staff also provided assistance to displaced Puerto Ricans facing uncertainty over housing and other recovery aid following Hurricane Maria.
A full timeline of Rubio’s actions to protect our fellow citizens on the island following Hurricane Maria and in support of those Puerto Ricans who found relief through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program can be found here.
Legislative Initiatives in Support of Puerto Rico
In 2018, as a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rubio secured much-needed disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico. The appropriated funds included money for Medicaid, infrastructure, hospitals, community health centers and vital electrical grid work repair. Later that year, several of Rubio’s provisions related to Puerto Rico, which sought to ensure fair treatment for American homeowners and protect investors in American territories, became law.
As a co-leader of the Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019, Rubio joined a bipartisan initiative to correct a long-standing discrepancy in the federal tax code that denies Puerto Rican families with one or two children access to a tax benefit they would otherwise be entitled to if they lived on the U.S. mainland.
Most recently, President Biden signed Rubio’s co-led legislation into law, the Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021 (PRRADA). Introduced as a measure to bring about more transparency for our fellow Americans, PRRADA requires robust disclosures from the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board’s advisers and consultants, closing a loophole in existing law. The law now requires vendors to disclose their relationships and potential conflicts of interests, guaranteeing that our fellow Americans on the island have the same transparency and disclosure practices required by U.S. law in the mainland.
Helping Puerto Rican Small Biz amid COVID-19 and the Future of the island’s Pharmaceutical Industry
As the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Rubio authored the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program has granted loans to small business owners in our nation, including 39,544 in Puerto Rico, providing them with a much-needed lifeline to stay afloat amid the pandemic and protecting the dignity that comes from work.
“On the pharmaceutical front, Puerto Rico has a long history of being a key place for pharmaceutical manufacturing capability, and it’s been lost over the last few years because of some policy changes.” -Rubio on May 19, 2020
As we continue to address COVID-19, it is clear that the U.S. must rebuild its national manufacturing capacity, especially our nation’s medical industry. As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and as Co-Chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Rubio has warned that “the U.S. runs the risk of losing important components of its medical supply chain to China’s government-backed industry.” In order to combat this threat, Rubio reintroduced the Medical Manufacturing, Economic Development, and Sustainability (MMEDS) Act of 2021. This bicameral bill encourages companies that are currently producing medical and pharmaceutical equipment abroad to relocate these capabilities to the U.S. and economically distressed zones, including Puerto Rico. Following the administration’s 2021 report on the importance of bringing manufacturing jobs back to our nation, Rubio was proud to lead Congresswoman González-Colón and Governor Pedro Pierluisi in encouraging the Biden Administration to support the bicameral and bipartisan MMEDS Act, as well as to visit Puerto Rico.