The representative Lourdes Ramos assured last night that she would insist that the so-called Worthy Retirement project be included in an Extraordinary Session to be convened by Governor Wanda Vázquez, after the measure was not approved last night, at end the last Regular Session of the four-year period.
The House Project 2434, with 267 pages and whose content caused dozens of public employees to camp for several days in front of the Capitol waiting for its approval, establishes a public policy of zero cuts to pensions and creates a new trust to manage all the retirement systems except that of the University of Puerto Rico and that of the Electric Power Authority.
That trust would be nourished by the transfer of 100% of the balance deposited in the Accounts for the Payment of Accumulated Pensions created under Law 106-2017, 100% of the individual contributions of the participants, 100% of the support Employers rtations, 100% of the annual savings produced by the discharge, cancellation or reduction in the service of the pending debt to the payment of disputed bonds in court, the restitution of 100% of the individual contributions withheld to the participants of the Accounts Program of Savings for Retirement created through Law 3-1951 and 100% of any judicial sentence for damages suffered in the treasury "as a result of the malpractice, negligence, recklessness or malice of the subscribing banks and their representatives or professional consultants in the issuance, purchase and sale of contested bonds. ”
In a concise summary, the president of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, as Ramos explained, sought to include an amendment to the bill that provided that the effect of the measure, including the creation of the Trust would be on hold until a court ruled on the legality of certain controversial bonds.
"Vulture funds," said Ra mos. "Bonds in controversy … if the court never speaks, and there are cases that take 10 years, the project would not work." .
In opposing the measure, the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency (Aafaf) He maintained that the legislative piece tied the hands of the entity, which has the role of interacting with the Fiscal Oversight Board in negotiations on the Debt Adjustment Plan. For example, it asks the Aafaf to protect "all" of the pensions, annuities and benefits of public servants at a time when the JSF has postponed for a year the reductions in the pensions of certain retirees.
The Aafaf also objected to the elimination of the "Pay as you Go" system in favor of the old trustee system supported by employer contributions, "reads a letter from Hecrian Martínez Martínez, deputy director of Legal Affairs to the Senate government Commission.
Ramos assumed in the Chamber Chamber what is known as a privilege shift at the stroke of midnight to explain the legislative process that put at least, for now, the approval of the measure. He said that he met with six union organizations before filing the measure and that over a period of five months a total of 17 organizations expressed their support.
From the outset, he clarified expressions that Rivera Schatz made last night in the Senate chamber when in Several times he questioned out loud whether the Chamber had already sent the legislative body that directs the language agreed in PC 2434 so that the Senate could concur with the amendments, which he already knew had been rejected by Ramos. The legislator, in fact, discussed them with Rivera Schatz and a group of senators at around 10:00 p.m. in the Senate Chamber.
“Amendments came at 7:00 p.m. that they are not compatible with the legislative intention and the work that the team did to make this happen. Thinking that with this last minute amendment the legislative intention was destroyed, he understood that it was not prudent to attend "Ramos said from his bench.
" This requires dialogue. Look for an option that is viable and that is approved by both bodies, "he added. “I am looking for a meeting with the governor because she was available to sign the project and she mentioned it in her budget message.”
The Fiscal Oversight Board has already spoken about the measure and has objected to it for its impact prosecutor.
“It was an amendment that was not considered in our conversations. I yielded in some amendments, they yielded in others, but in the block there was no consensus and I am going to seek consensus with the compromise that the Senate President, who had told me was available to approve the project. We are going to work on that amendment and consensus is needed, if there is no consensus, there is no project, "said Ramos.
In a publication on his Facebook page, Rivera Schatz maintained that PC 2434" suffers from trying to convert the legislature in a Court. ”
“ The Constitution of Puerto Rico does not allow to undermine contractual obligations through legislation. That is something resolved by the courts on repeated occasions and that is generally known. Our Constitution places in the Judicial Branch, not in the Legislative Assembly, the function of adjudicating cases and controversies, "he maintained, insisting that the media goes against" basic and elementary precepts of our Constitution. "
Rivera Schatz insisted in that the objective pursued by the project, which is to avoid cuts to pensions and return benefits to pensioners and future pensioners to the rule of law before Law 3-2017 "must be correct in law".
"After Many months of struggle and effort, last night, the House of Representatives and the Senate of Puerto Rico did not reach an agreement that would allow the approval of the Law For A Worthy Retirement (PC 2434). We are very disappointed with this result, but we also understand that some of the amendments that were tabled were unacceptable as they compromised the ability to protect pensions in the long term. This is not the end. The Governor will be convening the Legislative Assembly for an Extraordinary Session and we demand that she fulfill her commitment to approve this project and that it be included in the call, "said Julio López Varona, coordinator of the Let's Build Another Agreement campaign.