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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 23, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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those are situations that can be underlined according to what the panelists said before. but i would like to return to the treaty. particularly the interaction. puerto rico belongs to but is not part of the united states. in that was given by the supreme court with territories acquired. provided puerto rico was acquired by the united states, the political status of the inhabitants proceeding shall be determined by congress, and it was the emperor's iceman of that position that will
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activity framework in order for the development of a new relationship between the united states and the territories, and that lack of framework provoked the debate that eventually led to the articles which eventually provide the building blocks for the doctrine of not incorporation. but, in light of all that it has been clear that the territorial nature in the legal, political, and all has been reiterated that only by the supreme court and united states but by the presence task force and by the solicitor general for the supreme court in the case of puerto rico. in fact, it seems that
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puerto rico's still subject rico's still subject to the plenary powers of congress and they may indefinitely exercise control over puerto rico and in the words, the regime is illegal under international law and violation of human rights. but before this the beauty, i think that it is an academic beauty and the scholar's duty to conduct -- condemn. by the time i started i realized the insular cases not part of the constitutional law force. the doctrinal settled in these insular cases where the main topic and i was back then enrolled in an interesting course entitled the constitution in times of crisis.
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the drafting of the paper was required as part of the final grade for that course. the meetings, interested and helping me with research and told me they were simply absent in law schools. i must admit i was surprised by that assertion. i was astonished by that conversation since i simply was not able to understand why the doctrine itself derived directly from the intervention and why it was a part of the subject matter. we believe as long as they ignore the insular cases both become silent accomplices. the absence of discussion in
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any case of constitutional law represents an act of intellectual aggression to the people of puerto rico that is probably worse than the creation of the not incorporation doctrine by the academy and scholars more than a century ago. one can elaborate varies in different theories in order to justify or explain why academy and scholars delve in order to constitutionalize colonial rule. a century ago it was perfect on the law of nations through our territory.
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signed in 1933, but it is clearly prohibited. the recognition of right of nationstate of the territory acquired through any measure since 1933 acquisition has been crystallized and against the kind of acquisition. i cannot elaborate justification. we might well explain the phenomenon by asserting the constitutional relationship has not been an important issue for the united states and by rebound of no importance.
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what is the duty? through scholars in the it is not unusual to participate in discussions in which scholars pretend to establish the people of puerto rico as perfectly happy. the people of puerto rico have consented to the actual relationship with the united states or the alternative that we have done nothing. in the 1st place, it is clear the main cause of the economic crisis is probably the colonial rule which the
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house has been submitted to. in 2012 the actual territorial relationship. the university of puerto rico on april 4 fiscal poverty and puerto rico. the inter-american commission, both issues of human rights.
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in light of that to change the paradigms that the case is much more than a simple political matter. [applause] >> thank you, professor. answer the question that was asked. >> yes. >> while it is true when you compare puerto rico to estate you do not fare well. if you compare puerto rico we fare very well and we
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compared to the united states because that should be our goal. second, puerto ricans cherish our us citizenship by removing ourselves, the impediment of the current, the power of two senators and five congressmen providing puerto rico converge to the average mean stated terms of economic performance. and i believe puerto rico in
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the long run will be better served to be equal money equals. and i also agree that they should provide the mechanisms for us to make a final decision and accept the outcome and give us the option to go to a process that is binding, approved by congress and doing on territorial options. i believe that if that happens there will be a significant minority. >> thank you very much.
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i will pose a question. as in many things in politics my history of deference would suggest it is a question of political we will. there is no political constitutional statutory or any other impediment the united states to enter into a compact association outside the territorial powers with puerto rico, a question of political will, question as to whether the united states and puerto rico think it is the better option for both parties interest. it's an economic argument
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brought the issue of us citizenship which sometimes is born a china shop. us citizens and by birth. one, 1952 which the current version was approved and specifically says they are citizens by birth. what it means is congress has the authority. she read through other opinions there is no
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constitutional or judicial impediment. so becomes a question of what is better. we want a situation in which hundreds of thousands will want to move because they are scared? situation where the government will have to bail out puerto rico and ultimately spend federal taxpayer money in order to secure quality of life situation for puerto rico, some for valid economic
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reasons, general accounting, the dangers stated both for puerto rico and the united states, but those are not the only arguments. sadly, there are some racist and depressive comments. there isn't and has not been a will. there is not and has not been a will for the people puerto rico to exercise its natural right for independence. there is and has been territorial status as the current state of affairs by the federal government.
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if all other alternatives are unacceptable or either/or for many of the reasons i have stated, the only alternative for puerto rico, middleground alternative, that middleground alternative has to start from the jumping point that puerto rico should recognize as sovereign, have a non- territorial relationship with the united states and for practical reasons that relationship should include the current guarantee of us citizenship. half of the puerto rican nation. we are 7 million strong. almost 4 million outside of puerto rico, close to 3 million and puerto rico. just for practical reasons,
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the united states, if it does not want to go that route. don't create the conditions to assert its right. and we will have to deal with the issue. and i believe when it is posed in those terms is a better deal for them and us. and i will go the route of the political process. just let me briefly address some issue about tomorrow's case tomorrow's cases, the right of puerto rico to legislate a local bankruptcy procedure because federal
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ones do not apply. congress expressly took out puerto rico from the law. all the way to the supreme court, something that really baffles me. i mean,, it is a measure of law. this case is about, in my opinion, the new theory of preemption by omission. the us federal system us statutes take over expressly and by putting something in playing on the possibility of aa local or state statute or commonwealth of territory statute. that this situation brings his puerto rico is taken out of federal bankruptcy law. but by doing so, it remains
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preempted even though there is nothing to preempt it with. that is totally contrary and it is a new and interesting novelty of preemption by ownership. >> thank you, representative. please answer the question. >> the question was, independence contrary to the international community in which countries, part of the authority in order to come in new arrangements of regional nature, in other words why independence in the age of interdependence? has been talked about in
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those terms. well, the premise of the question is precisely that sovereign nations sit together and negotiation tables to agree on terms for economic and in the case of europe even political arrangements that are mutual interest and benefit. puerto rico cannot sit at this tables. admitting quite clearly in the last few years all we can do is come here to washington to seek measures, legislative or executive that we consider beneficial to puerto rico.
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depending on the benefit of the people. >> the government represents absolutely excluded from those decisions. there is no interdependence, only subordination. and that simply has to end. illustrate what i am talking about, the court of appeals has quite frankly suggested that puerto rico should go to congress and see legislation to repeal the 1984 repeal of the inclusion of puerto rico and the
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bankruptcy laws. into the new world reality. it must acquire sovereignty. >> thank you, professor. we will now open to questions of the public. please watch of the microphone,a microphone, state your name and to whom the question is being directed. >> i have enter america school of law, and i'm happy to see a reference here. this panel covered a wide range of issues.
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try to address something, but i'm going to start with the comments regarding the history of the military before, during, and after his very interesting. but the debate of whether the united states was a republic or empire was crystal during that debate. it was not just the military. people in congress oppose that concept to some debate includes civil rights. that links a little bit without a history in terms of puerto rico in cuba interlinked and continues to be interlinked. i want to address -- have a question for me your case
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regarding american samoa i found interesting and wonder if you see an impact of the case regarding the legislation that started with the jones act with follow-up legislations. also any impact that will be an interesting angle of how it may impact his decisions. the constitutional case that is trending. an interesting debate between justice kagan,
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prior, and so the mayor. extremely surprised, the change of the position. and i wondered if that will be interpreted as a political issue because the executive had a position in congress have a position and now it seems to have a different position. the think is supreme court would use that as an excuse to say, well, this is a political question and we are not going to address it because the political will seems to be shifting. and finally, the concern that both writers, i wanted to bring it down. you mentioned self-determination. seems to be missing the will
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of the people in puerto rico in this process, being mentioned is the responsibility of the congress of the united states or how the congress can act. but only because of one in 2012 that seems so settled the issue. those address completely still remains to be exercised. of this answer. i don't get to stuck.
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important as they may be. which was coinciding puerto rico satisfied with the current congressional authority, i would think not be satisfied and was presented. to me the most important
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part of the referendum was the 2nd question in which at least half of my political party to have a relationship with the united states every day. i think one of the greatest tax raises that has been said, this should be clarity non- territorial decision is the only clear path forward, to put in one pot the different, they wish to be part of it. and some people want to be part of it, want some men
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and others one other ingredients in. other alternatives, i think the possibility and i warn non- territorial alternatives are born and territorial alternatives are
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equally important. .. to be equally understood both the current territorial status or the possibility of incorporated status of as a way station. those are territorial. those under the powers of congress, the only difference is the unincorporated territory, puerto rico doesn't pay federal taxes and in incorporated territory they would play taxes. >> regarding the last question which perhaps related to the previous one, is the issue of status of puerto rico, of course
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not. we are still a colony of the united states. it is not settled. even the issue of self-determination is never settled, anywhere, because all because all peoples have a continuing right of self-determination. but, the results were dramatic snapshot of the people of puerto rico believed at that time. and for the first time the territorial relation defined that as territorial relation was rejected by the people and that's a historical and political statement that cannot be forgotten. however, i would like to point out even if the results have been the other way around, that result would have been invalid under international law. no people may renounce to its
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right to self-determination. that means that the right to self-determination is a right that cannot be renounced. no people may agree to colonialism, to a colonial relationship. that is not valid exercise of self-determination. in the collective level that cannot be done. on the individual level, no individual may consent to slavery which is also an inalienable perfection that we all have. so so even if the result was the other way around the issue would not have been resolved. it is not a political question. it is a controversy that has
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political ramifications and consequences. but that that does not make it a political question. i mean marbury versus madison had political ramifications and yet it was quite dismissible, right? so do not be confused with the political question, no of course it isn't. >> i would like to address part of your question. they believe that congress could spread itself and decided not to address or issue and it will depend highly on how congress spread itself in term term of the option that is willing to accept under which conditions. i think this time of crisis is
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also a time for opportunity. while we address this crisis i also believe that congress should take this opportunity to allow us to make a final decision and also have the administration and the justice department come up with the conditions of the options that are available to us so that the referendum will be finally accepted by congress. i think puerto ricans at this time, with so many changes and challenges, we should take this opportunity commits a golden opportunity to finally resolve a problem. so i believe the final answer will depend on when congress makes that decision but that's difficult for us at this moment. >> thank you. i believe there was a question direct did at you, if you would like to answer.
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>> i do not disagree that there was a wave in congress and a wave in the united states where there is a goal to pursue imperialistic positions. it is clear in the senate debates in the treaty of paris, and in congress. initially a bill proposed for terrorists not for civil government, it was later modified. i think it it is very interesting an apartment that the military something known as what we would description this functionalism which is to say, we are going to create a new territory policy that allows us to do whatever locally without being bound and to contemporary presence. so the ideas the military and later congress and the government could create individual policies without being bound vertically or horizontally. i think that it's been the continuity. i think that's important because it explains some ways how can be contradictory policies between
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the islands and the citizens of puerto rico are one and the fiscal policies and puerto rico. also how there can be on uniform policies throughout puerto rico. historically we have been treated as a state, or territory? it's been a hodgepodge of debate. it is grounded in a particular logic and again as it was pointed out it's a debate that emerges in the military, that emerges in the large policy republican and make a major electoral alignment clear. this is part of the fever if you will that occurs at the time. it is broader than the military. that functionalist policy which has been described in light of justice kennedy's rulings and later -- is a result of this logic of strategic of it
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territory that allows the government later to essentially have individual policies that are incoherent and inconsistent. historically and horizontally, not only among territories but among constitutional debate. >> thank you. i believe there is also a, that you may like to address. >> i think one of the, i think you hit one of the disturbing natural consequences of the circuit decision by holding that americans and other unincorporated territories are not part of the united states for purposes of citizenship clause. it has the potential to bring these areas into other doctrines. you mention another court case, think more disturbing cases rogers versus ally which the court recognizes that people not born in the united states,
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congress can actually take their citizenship away unilaterally without their consent which is something the court and other contacts have said it cannot do to those that are born in the united states. just to touch quickly and some of the comments with respect to territorial status. i think one of the things to think about and this is an approach that we have been putting forward, as this this conversation about political status and self-determination continues residents of puerto rico's and these other should immediately have political rights of political representation in order to have political power in a political process that they must navigate. there is historical precedents for this, the 23rd amendment for providing a right to vote in dc. there is an an amendment that passed congress but failed in the states. some of these other strategies for providing political representation of power as a
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civil rights issue while leaving open the decision of political status and self-determination, think it something else that should be considered, particularly when folks have been taken in puerto rico where you have 85-90% of puerto ricans who have given the option would like to vote for president. given their military service and other connections it is something they have earned. so long as they are under the american flag they should have these fundamental rights, even even if ultimately they decide to go a different direction and no lonr be part of the united states or to become state. >> thank you. i have been asked to react to your comments. >> i will try to be as brief as possible to can ask your question. given the right to vote to the inhabitants of the territory sounds very nice. it's like mother's day and apple
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pie. nobody can be in disagreement, but may i suggest that in argentina only argentinians may vote. in france, only french can vote. in the united states, only americans should vote. the problem is that the inhabitants of an unincorporated territories are not part of the united states. granting vote would incorporate them into the body politics of the united states and that might have consequences in terms of the constitution doctrine of incorporation. that would have to be very careful crafted because it would be very oblique way of incorporating puerto rico into the united states with a slight problem that a civil war was
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fought when people try to go away from the union. in fact it has been written that the theory of territory not incorporation wasn't really motivated to rule the territories perpetuity but quite the contrary. it was some years after the civil war to create the constitutional construct that would allow congress to do away with some of these new territories because they were not part of the united states and could be disposed of without being estate. so so that would have to be considered in your proposal because as we see in puerto rico -- you cannot go in through the kitchen, through the back door. that might be of bringing
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statehood into the kitchen door. >> thank you for your question. we have one final question. >> hello. i am a gw law student. i'm also a legal research assistant for gw's public health school. several of you mentioned healthcare and i would like to address that question in that area. there is mention of the healthcare issue regarding the medicare and how puerto rico and the disparity between the puerto rico and the united states, it's also my law note that hopefully gottesman did on friday. there is also concerned that in july 2017 the fiscal cliff will leave 1,000,000 uninsured and on the island taken a toll on every sector of the healthcare industry on the island and
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spilling over onto the states and host a massive migration. that being being said, i like to point out that of 72 billion-dollar debt puerto rico has 25 billion is directly linked to medicare costs. there was being fought at a federal level, what fiscal legislative precautions can be taken at a local 11 to lower spending and prevent the high healthcare spending, if any? given the status connotation of this forum, i i would like to make certain points given -- for example it was mentioned puerto ricans go to the united states to get better healthcare. if you actually look at the quality of healthcare, prettier
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puerto rico exceeds quality expectations and help get the most of the united states. obviously if you have cancer you have specialized hospitals. the general u.s. population does not receive better healthcare than the puerto rican population. with in regards to how obama care applies to puerto rico, there there is a question of them not paying federal taxes and how that negates the possibility of an individual mandate because there cannot be a penalty on federal taxes if there is no federal taxes and there cannot be a subsidy on federal taxes if there are no federal taxes. however, i was wondering given if independence was a possibility, what type of transition for healthcare measures will be taken on the island because the island is heavily dependent on federal funding and federal spending. so the alternative would be, my guess would probably be like a
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universal healthcare system, however given universal healthcare systems example in latin america were in caribbean, those have not been very successful. those that have been successful have been in europe and europe does have an interdependence of nations, so how would puerto rico independence all the sudden benefit healthcare on the island or not induce a massive migration anywhere that would be received similar to the immigration crisis that are happening all over the u.s. and europe? in terms of -- i would like to give this question to all three of you, given status will not be resolved in the next ten years in federal spending for medicaid will be over in the next year in july 2017. there has to be an immediacy and immediate solution or proposal
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alternative to fixing the status and fix the problem because by the time the status is fixed, puerto ricans ricans will no longer live in puerto rico. >> a start with medicare issue. first of all, medicare is you know this paid by deduction from social security payments. medicaid is a different story. medicaid is a state program that is subsidized by the federal government with money that is paid by the state from federal contributions of their citizens. so in essence the basic answer to your question is, if we want to have everything we should become estate. that is a simple answer. however, if congress does not want to provide us a clear path to self determination in the
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short term, i also see that health is a different issue and that it is a human right issue. so my personal opinion is that as long it that we are citizens of the united states and something as important as health, especially especially those that do not have resources , your health benefit should not be based where you live but they should also follow citizenship. i believe we have a case to use these economic prizes as a means to request from congress for participation of puerto rico's health medicaid program. first the limit of $311 million and the annual contribution in second we make that percentage
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of what puerto rico kink lame. there's there's now 57% and that is very close to a state. so puerto rico should be putting ourselves in the direction of claiming what we deserve if we should get it if we're state which is closer to 75% or little more. also we should request the elimination of the cat. on what basis? i think -- otherwise puerto rico would have to pay after 2017 close to one tuesday $00 million that we do not have. $1,200,000,000. so i think we should become a state because that's where the money is coming from.
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if we look from the perspective of where we are today and apply for that as a means of human rights and decency and also of the crisis solution. >> if i recall your concerned correctly, are independent puerto ro all of a sudden with the health bill which is heavily dependent on federal transfer, will nothing will happen all of a sudden. not only in hell but in anything else. health but in anything else. they negotiated committees of jurisdiction in congress, they
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will require a careful transition from a dependent economy to a self-sufficient economy, economic economic and otherwise, it must be a transition. what to do with so many things that will have to be addressed because there have been 118 years of creating a very complex creature that depends, as your question said on funds. of course we cannot accept the premise, none of us should accept the premise that sovereignty should be put on hold because they're sort of a -- hanging overhead. that would not be moral or legal under international law and the exercise of self-determination. of course, it would be a very
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hard problem as many others, but then we should not be that much concerned with the problems during the transition period to independence, i think is your concern was very well express, i think i should concern should be in 2017. i grew up with the idea that if it were not for the u.s. we would die of hunger. now it totally seems that we are dying of hunger in the colony. i think that would be a much more, much greater concern that the colony has created a health tobacco which you talking about. >> let me use your question to dispel the notion this
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continuous talk of leaving us out. this is not about a hand-me-down. puerto rico has been subject to subject to discriminatory treatment and the application of federal law, even in the case of healthcare or medical medicare which we pay for on the mainland. puerto ricans accepted quote unquote, bombardment of 60 some years. this is not out of mercy or happiness, puerto rico accepted not to have do not have the power to conduct foreign economic relationship. and just be subject to what
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congress and the many issues including tax breaks which they gave one day and took it another somebody in puerto rico had the great idea suggesting in washington, well you can take the benefits if you expand what was there called clink care. but what they did was to boy section 926 oh we're still waiting on it. we, everybody is still waiting on clinton care. during the first clinton administration.
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and that's a combination of not having the clinton reform and some of the decisions we had of implementing the local clinton reform version of a statue and that is part of the debt that we are discussing tomorrow. that is a big part of that and it created what i think is a reprehensible concept which is unconstitutional debt. what i point out this is in terms of healthcare, when we say it quality of the states we should get exactly the same thing but one of the things that leads to that we are subject to an authority that we cannot affect legally and secondly the
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requisites of puerto rico that are not made for puerto rico, one of the things, when i'm big proponent of public health reform but the state directly pays as a single-payer to the doctors, pharmacies, hospitals what have you, we cannot do that because of the federal law. caribbean told that we do not comply yet with federal standards of internet and information components. so we have to hold off on that not because we don't want to do it is because it would not be cheaper for puerto rico but we are seen as a society that is more developed than puerto rico. those are the issues on a
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current basis affect the people puerto rico. that is why we need to find in middle ground solution but it cannot be materially, practically, or morally subject to the territory clause of the united states. if we. if we do it than puerto rico will never have -- in the debt structure, and the government and the way federal programs apply or don't apply. in order order to make a long-term plan you can not make a long-term plan when you have someone outside the role of authority making rules. it's you can't say it's two outs to strikes and then look back at the empire and say all let's play two more innings. you have to to have clear rules for the baseball game to move and that's what puerto rico needs.
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we don't have the authority under the relationship with the united states to clearly agree on rules that have to be respected by both parties. that is what this territory clause means. >> thank you. >> one quick,, the united states have spent seven times more than any other industrialized country, has the worst outcomes so maybe it is time so we actually rethought healthcare and have the flexibility, not being bound by federal law to rethink welfare puerto rico. that i think it only happen through non- territorial, whether it's independence or not. so with funding funding i think it could be opened up.
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so you're right we have better outcomes in puerto rico than the mainland. >> thank you. on behalf of washington college of law, inter-american university inter-american university school of law, and myself, i want to thank the speakers for being available to this panel. thank you for providing us with this amazing venue here at the nation's capital. think is he spent and other media outlets covering this event and delivering the message that puerto rico claims to change. thank you all who are present here today and to those watching online for demonstrating your interest in seeking solutions for puerto rico. from today's form we can conclude as all three perspective, that puerto rico is at fault for its debt, for lack of administration, whether united states is also responsible, responsible for their lack of oversight, responsible, responsible for not settling the political issue, responsible for expressly excluding puerto rico chapter nine and the possibility of restructuring their debt. the federal government has left
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rico in the middle of the ocean with no life vest. it is time to launch a rescue mission. all speakers agree that the rescue mission is not a handout. it is a petition to restructure our debt and promote economic development. there are differences on how to restructure our debt. some will, fiscal board while others do not. puerto ricans need to ask themselves if they welcome a voice info pointed not elected officials to decide what puerto rico's taxpayer monies are spent. i have my answer to that question. i believe in a believe in a democratic government where i elect by my vote, those invested in the power and responsibility of deciding where taxpayer money spent. any option that is short of that is antidemocratic and looks more like a dictatorship than any other thing. i invite every
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puerto rican to answer these questions for themselves and voice their opinion loudly. finally, our panelist agree that in order for puerto rico to forward the political status issue has to be resolved. it was suggested in this form that congress needs to promote legislation that binds congress with a result of nonterritorial options of billable. be it statehood, free association or independence. however, this has has not happened in congress and we need to do more than just wait and see. may this form serve as a petition for congress to act now. thank you all for attending. [applause]. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] >> tonight on a special primetime additional book tv, books about medicine and healthcare. next, author vincent on cancer research. then jeffrey lieberman the author of, shrinks the untold story of psychiatry, 1015, john and karen discuss their book about autism. and the author of the pandemics, sonya shaw on how to prevent the spread of infectious disease. >> doctor vincent and his


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