Barrasso Remarks at Hearing to Consider Legislation on Puerto Rico’s Financial Management

July 29, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing to consider S. 375 and its House-passed companion measure, H.R. 1192, the Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021, commonly known as PRRADA.

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Robert Menendez, United States Senator of New Jersey; the Honorable Arthur J. Gonzalez, senior fellow at New York University School of Law; Dr. Stephen J. Lubben, Harvey Washington Wiley chair in Corporate Governance & Business Ethics at Seton Hall University School of Law; Mr. Anthony Suarez, president of the Anthony Suarez Law Group, P.A. 

For more information on witness testimony click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Today we are here to receive testimony on the Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021, or PRRADA. 

“This bill would require professionals hired in debt adjustment cases involving Puerto Rico to file disclosure statements outlining their connections with debtors, creditors, the Puerto Rico financial management oversight board, and other interested parties. 

“The bill would act retroactively for entities that have already completed their work and require those entities to file disclosure statements within 60 days. 

“The Senate version of this bill was introduced by Senators Menendez and Rubio. 

“The House bill, introduced by Representative Velazquez, unanimously passed the House on February 24th this year. 

“First, I want to welcome the witnesses testifying before us. 

“In particular, I want to welcome Mr. Anthony Suarez. 

“He has a long and distinguished legal career. 

“He was a member of the Florida State Legislature, a United States Delegate to the Guatamala Peace Accords in 1996, and President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association of New York and Florida. 

“He currently has his own law practice and is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida.

“Mr. Suarez, thank you for agreeing to testify today. 

“Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act in 2016. 

“This was a direct result of the worsening fiscal situation in Puerto Rico. 

“The legislation established an oversight board to help manage Puerto Rico’s fiscal matters as it relates to financial planning and the budget of the island. 

“Under this law, the board has the power to hire professionals who could assist in these fiscal matters. 

“Advisers to the territory’s oversight board were excluded from the disclosure requirements under PROMESA. 

“The PRRADA bill will ensure that some form of financial disclosure is added to PROMESA to address this, to ensure transparency for the public. 

“Today we will hear testimony as to the benefits and need of this proposed legislation. 

“In my home State of Wyoming – a U.S. territory until 1890 – our legislature considers it a matter of responsibility to our taxpayers to keep our fiscal house in order. 

“As a former member of the state legislature, I can speak to this fact. 

“The residents of my state expect no less. 

“Coal, oil and natural gas producers provide needed state revenue which funds vital public services such as schools, roads, and public safety. 

“Despite this administration’s best efforts to end American oil, natural gas and coal production, the Wyoming delegation in Congress continues to fight to protect these important industries so we can generate the revenue to keep our state’s fiscal house in order. 

“Each state and territory has their own unique fiscal challenges. 

“However, there is one thing we can ensure – that we maintain transparency in our fiscal dealings. 

“Fiscal disclosure requirements make sense. 

“We have them here in the Senate. 

“They should also apply in the financial dealings of advisers to Puerto Rico’s oversight board hired under PROMESA. 

“Again, thank you to the witnesses. Thank you to Senator Menendez and Senator Rubio for introducing the bill, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.”