On the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez shared his thoughts about an omnibus budget bill that Congress is now debating:
I cannot vote for the omnibus deal because it does not give the people of Puerto Rico some hope for a better future.
The omnibus does not provide a path forward amid budget cuts, cuts in services, growing unemployment and the greedy banks and bond holders who demand more and more even as the people of Puerto Rico have less and less.
Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. Its sovereignty rests here in the Congress of the United States and we will not do anything to help them.
Asi que mañana le digo al pueblo de Puerto Rico, yo estaré con ustedes.
Votaré en contra de este presupuesto porque si no hay escuelas en Puerto Rico, si no hay policías para defender a la gente en la calle, si no hay doctores o enfermeras para curar a los enfermos, tampoco habrá un voto para este presupuesto hasta que haya justicia para el pueblo.
Y le digo a todo Congresista que vota a favor de este presupuesto, que le niega un futuro a Puerto Rico y le traiciona al pueblo de Puerto Rico.
Translation of Spanish Portion:
So tomorrow I tell the people of Puerto Rico, I will be with you.
I will vote against this omnibus budget because if there are no schools in Puerto Rico, if there is no law enforcement to protect the people on the streets, if there are no doctors or nurses healing the sick, there won’t be a vote on this budget until there is justice for the people.
And I tell every Representative that votes in favor of this budget, you are denying a future for Puerto Rico and you are betraying the people of Puerto Rico.
On December 18, Gutiérrez issued this statement:
I had a conversation with Speaker Ryan this morning and he reiterated to me that he is committed to working on a comprehensive legislative framework for action in the New Year in which Republicans will take all the best ideas of Puerto Rico and consider in an honest and fair manner ways to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt.
I thank the Speaker for his attention to the people of Puerto Rico and wish him a Merry Christmas with his family.
However, I did not vote for the omnibus budget today because it does not guarantee teachers will be in schools for the children, police will be on the streets protecting neighborhoods, and doctors and nurses will be there to help the people of Puerto Rico.
Despite the good intentions expressed for action next year I will vote against the omnibus today and I expect others committed to the people of Puerto Rico will have done the same.
The people of Puerto Rico need people to stand up for them. This vote is a telling moment about who stands with them and who does not.