The new-progressive representative Lourdes Ramos once again filed the legislative measure that would serve as protection against the threat of the Fiscal Control Board to cut pensions for government retirees as a measure of fiscal austerity.
This is the legislative project that creates the Law of Dignified Retirement and that was approved last four years in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate then led by the New Progressive Party (PNP).
Nor was it included as a matter of urgency during the extraordinary sessions called by then-Governor Wanda Vázquez in the period from September to December of last year.
Ramos explained to THE SPOKESMAN that the filed bill contains the language that had originally been approved in the Chamber on June 8, 2020.
In addition, he mentioned that he filed another measure that also remained in limbo last four years and that created a new retirement system for the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).
Both projects unleashed intense lobbying by organizations that group together government pensioners and the UPR unions.
At one point, these groups even camped out for several days in front of the House of Laws demanding that the legislators complete the processing of both legislative projects.
“The dignified retirement measures and the retirement of the UPR are already in the Chamber’s secretariat. Both are my two main goals for this quadrennium. So, the rest of the projects that I am going to file I left for later because the truth is that today (yesterday) the ‘rush’ is great and I did not want to miss the opportunity that the first two were the most important, ”explained Ramos, who served as chamber vice president last four years.
They were already discussed
The measures, as reported, have already been discussed with Governor Pedro Pierluisi, with the projected President of the Chamber, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández, and the pro-independence representative Denis Márquez. In the case of Hernández and Márquez, Ramos mentioned that both were willing to sign to become co-authors.
“The language stayed the same and it is the text of approval of the House because the amendments that were put in the Senate turned it into a poison pill and I decided that it could not be approved like that, because they damaged the intention of the project. So I decided to file it again, but the version that was approved in the Chamber with the consensus of 17 union organizations that helped build the measure, “he said.
He explained that before the general elections, he submitted both projects to be considered as part of the PNP government platform.
“There is a commitment. Even on the day of the inauguration, when I went to take the photo with him (Pierluisi) he told me: ‘Lourdes, we are going to continue working with pensioners.’ I liked that and it gives me hope that we can have a dialogue and that external interests that always harm us do not interfere with the governor’s positive intention to do justice to pensioners, ”said Ramos.