Democratic presidential hopeful and billionaire Michael Bloomberg on Monday endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico as he also rolled out a broader economic development plan for the island.
“For decades, Puerto Ricans and their interests have been ignored by Washington,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “And there’s a simple reason why: They don’t have a vote in Congress. And so politicians don’t have to care how they feel.”
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, also wants to undergo an independent audit of Puerto Rico’s debt and restructuring proposals, provide equal “safety net” funding like Medicaid, and structure disaster recovery and federal funding with more of an eye toward climate change and energy efficiency.
His campaign said President Trump has dropped the ball on ensuring that Puerto Rico has had sufficient federal funding to recover from disasters such as Hurricane Maria and the recent earthquakes.
Mr. Bloomberg’s announcement comes on the heels of the firing of multiple Cabinet officials after unused emergency supplies intended for disaster relief had been found in a warehouse.