Oversight Board withdraws Puerto Rico furlough demand; lobbies for aid

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The Puerto Rico Oversight Board withdrew a demand for employee furloughs and began lobbying for federal aid to Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria's toll on the island.

The board announced on Saturday that it was withdrawing its lawsuit against the Puerto Rico government of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló that sought to force it to institute government furloughs effective Sept. 1. It said it was “postponing any discussion of furloughs until next fiscal year.”

This past week, members of the Oversight Board and its staff were in Washington, D.C. lobbying “key members” of Congress and Trump Administration officials.

“The board urged the Trump administration and Congress to expedite responses to all requests for assistance from the government of Puerto Rico, increase financial assistance, lift the caps on individual programs of financial aid available to the island, and waive the local government cost-sharing requirements across available programs, including permanent recovery work,” the board said.

The board is also calling for federal agency employees to be assigned to the board for the next several months.

“Puerto Rico has been devastated by Hurricane Maria,” said board Chairman José Carríon III. “The road to recovery is going to be long and hard. But Puerto Rico will come back better and stronger. That is our spirit and our fight. The board is committed to doing everything it can to make that happen.”

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PROMESA Hurricane Maria Commonwealth of Puerto Rico University of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Employees Retirement System Puerto Rico Public Finance Corporation Puerto Rico Public Buildings Authority Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financial Authority Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp (COFINA) Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority Puerto Rico Highway & Transportation Authority Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Puerto Rico