The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status held its first meeting today, continuing the important work of examining and reporting on the island’s status question, but also expanding its focus to include matters affecting Puerto Rico’s economic development. President Obama signed an Executive Order on Oct. 30, 2009, to both preserve the Task Force’s original mission, and to provide advice and recommendations to the President and the Congress on policies that promote job creation, education, health care, clean energy, and economic development on the islands.
"President Obama recognizes the importance of both moving forward on the question of Puerto Rico’s status, but also on working toward creating greater economic opportunities for all our citizens," said Task Force Co-Chair and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Muñoz. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with officials and interested parties in Puerto Rico to build on the investments we’ve made through the Recovery Act, which are serving the people of Puerto Rico while creating and saving jobs in everything from community health centers to infrastructure projects."
Consistent with President Obama’s commitment to responsive and accountable governing, the Task Force members voted to hold public hearings in Puerto Rico and on the mainland on the broad range of issues before them, and to seek the public’s input.
"As the Task Force works to put in place a process for moving forward on these important policy matters, we will work diligently to engage the people of Puerto Rico and involve them in the process," added Task Force Co-Chair and Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli.
President Clinton originally established the Task Force when he signed Executive Order 13183 in December 2000. The Task Force is made up of designees of each member of the President’s Cabinet and the Co-Chairs of the President’s Interagency Group on Puerto Rico. The members are as follows:
- White House, Cecilia, Munoz, Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Department of Justice, Tom Perrelli, Associate Attorney General
- Health & Human Services, Paul Dioguardi, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Transportation, Joanna Turner, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs
- Environmental Protection Agency, Judith Enck, Region 2 Administrator
- Housing & Urban Development, Mercedes Marquez, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development
- Education, Eric Waldo, Special Assistant to the Secretary
- Agriculture, Tammye Trevino, Administrator of the Rural Housing Service
- Interior, Anthony Babauta, Assistant Secretary for the Interior for Insular Areas
- Labor, Gabriella Lemus, Senior Advisor and Director Office of Public Engagement
- Energy, Joe Garcia, Director of the Office of Economic Impact
- Defense, Patrick O'Brien, Director Office of Economic Adjustment
- Council of Economic Advisors, Cecilia Rouse, Member
- Commerce, Rick Wade, Deputy Chief of Staff
- Veterans Affairs, Langley Koby, Special Assistant to the Secretary
- Treasury, Matthew Kabaker, Domestic Finance
- State, Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs
- Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem, Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Programs