White House Task Force on Puerto Rico

A Roadmap for Congressional Action to Address the Crisis in Puerto Rico

The 3.5 million American citizens who live in Puerto Rico are facing a serious crisis. Puerto Rico has been mired in a decade long recession, during which more than 300,000 Puerto Ricans left the island as the economy shrunk and unemployment soared. The Commonwealth has already began defaulting on its debt, which has led to cuts in health, education and public safety services. Puerto Rico cannot solve its crisis alone.

On June 30, 2016 President Barack Obama singed the S. 2328: Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act that will provide Puerto Rico with the support it needs to restructure its debts, provide fiscal oversight, safeguard vital public services, and protect public pensions.

Watch President Obama Sign Legislation for Puerto Rico:

Read a Statement by the President on the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act.

Read the Legislation – S. 2328 Puerto Rico oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act

Roadmap for Congressional Action
State of Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis

Watch the President's Weekly Address on Addressing Puerto Rico’s Economic Crisis:


Read the transcript

Updates to Congress on Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Humanitarian Crisis
Puerto Rico's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
The Impact of the Crisis on Puerto Rico's Muni Market
Puerto Rico's Fiscal and Economic Data

The President meets with his Taskforce on Puerto Rico

"For over a century, the people of Puerto Rico and the United States have woven a lasting political, economic, social, and cultural relationship. Today, this relationship is strengthened and renewed by more than four million U.S. citizens who call Puerto Rico home and nearly equal number of Puerto Ricans living on the mainland who travel back to Puerto Rico for business, vacation, or visits to see family and friends. We honor their contributions to the Nation and welcome their vigorous participation...".    

 

When President Obama took office in 2009, he signed Executive Order 13517 to renew the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico to address the issue of Puerto Rico’s status and the process by which that issue should be resolved.  The Executive Order also expanded the responsibility of the Task Force to help improve the treatment of Puerto Rico in federal programs and to provide recommendations on policies that promote job creation, education, health care, clean energy, and economic development in the Commonwealth.  The current Task Force includes representatives from every Cabinet agency and the White House.

The Task Force’s 2011 Report and its recommendations provide an important road map to address the concerns relating to the question of status and the questions of expanded economic opportunity for Puerto Rico.

Administration Support for Puerto Rico

The President and his Administration remain committed to helping Puerto Rico address its crisis and chart a path to economic growth. The Administration has partnered with Puerto Rico to attract jobs, by creating investments in important emerging industries, secure new funds to accelerate infrastructure projects, and improve healthcare outcomes.

Learn more about Administration’s efforts to support Puerto Rico and improve the lives of the island’s 3.5 million Americans.

Statement from Secretary Lew on Senate Passage of Puerto Rico Legislation
June 29, 2016

Congress Must Act Before July 1 to Help Puerto Rico
June 27, 2016

Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 5278 – Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA)
June 9, 2016

Puerto Rico's Fiscal Crisis: What You Need to Know
June 6, 2016

Perez and Muñoz Op-ed: PROMESA for Puerto Rico
June 3, 2016

Vilsack Announces New Promise Zone Designation for Puerto Rico, Other Steps to Lift Puerto Rican Economy
June 2, 2016

Lew Op-Ed: The Puerto Rico Rescue We Need
June 1, 2016

HUD Secretary Julián Castro Highlights Affordable Housing Strategies, Zika Virus Protection in Public Housing
May 20, 2016

Readout from Sec. Lew’s Trip to Puerto Rico
May 9, 2016

Secretary Lew Sends Letter to Congress on Puerto Rico
May 2, 2016

HHS Awards $5 Million to Puerto Rico Health Centers to Fight the Spread of Zika Virus
April 26, 2016

CMS Announces Rate Changes to Support Medicare in Puerto Rico
April 4, 2016

Secretary King Visits Puerto Rico to Support Students in the Midst of Fiscal Challenges
March 31, 2016

Secretary Jewell Visits Puerto Rico to Spotlight Benefits of Tourism to Island Economy
March 31, 2016

DOT Announces $400 Million in Federal Funds to Accelerate Infrastructure Projects in Puerto Rico
February 25, 2016

We Must Avoid Another Lost Decade in Puerto Rico
February 24, 2016

HHS Working to Solve the Health Care Challenges in Puerto Rico
February 18, 2016

White House Hosts Discussion with Stakeholders on Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Crisis
February 16, 2016

Treasury Secretary Meets with Press in Puerto Rico on Economic Crisis
January 20, 2016

Secretary Lew Sends Letter to Congress on Puerto Rico
January 15, 2016

Administration Calls for Puerto Rico’s Access to Bankruptcy Protection
November 13, 2015

The Administration’s Roadmap for Puerto Rico: Diverse Voices Supporting a Balanced Proposal
November 3, 2015

Administration Releases Legislative Proposal to Address Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis
October 21, 2015

Secretary Lew Writes to Senator Hatch to Urge Action on Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Challenges
July 28, 2015

Valerie Jarrett
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, overseeing the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and chairing the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Ms. Jarrett has worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates behind efforts to strengthen and improve access to the middle class, to boost American businesses and our economy, and to champion equality and opportunity for all Americans. From ongoing campaigns to end sexual assault, raise the minimum wage, advocate workplace policies that empower working families, and promote entrepreneurship and early childhood education, Ms. Jarrett has helped the President develop a broad coalition of partners to execute a robust agenda.

Ms. Jarrett came to the White House with a background in both the public and private sectors, having served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

She also served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and the director of corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

Follow Valerie Jarrett on Twitter at @VJ44.

Jerry Abramson
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Jerry Abramson currently serves as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Jerry oversees the Obama administration’s domestic agenda with state, city, county, and tribal elected officials across the country.

Jerry takes on the role of Director of Intergovernmental Affairs having served in state, city, and county governments in Kentucky. Jerry is the former Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky having served alongside Governor Steve Beshear from 2011 until 2014. Prior to entering state government, Jerry held the role of longest-serving mayor of Louisville with 21 years of service. He served three terms as mayor of the old city of Louisville (1986-1999) and two terms as the first mayor of the consolidated city-county of Louisville Metro (2003-2010), earning the nickname “Mayor for Life.” During his time as mayor, Jerry was President of the United States Conference of Mayors.

Jerry started his public service as an Alderman of the City of Louisville for two terms, and thereafter as Counsel to the Governor of Kentucky, John Y. Brown, Jr. In the private sector, Jerry practiced law with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald, and thereafter with Frost Brown Todd. Throughout his career, Jerry taught classes at the University of Louisville’s School of Law and at Bellarmine University. In 2011, Jerry held the position of Executive in Residence at Bellarmine University and taught several undergraduate courses.

Jerry received his bachelor’s degree in business economics and public policy at Indiana University, where he chaired the state’s College Students for Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 Presidential campaign. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where he was a member of the Center’s Law Journal. Jerry and his wife Madeline have one son, Sidney.

Yohannes Abraham
Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Yohannes Abraham serves as Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, Abraham served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, where he managed political strategy and operations in swing states. After the election, Abraham was named Director of Public Engagement for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. Before joining the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, Abraham was the National Political Director at Organizing for America, and also served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other key pieces of the President’s agenda. He also served as then-Senator Obama’s Virginia Field Director during the 2008 general election. Abraham is a native of Springfield, VA.

Adrian Saenz
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Adrian Saenz serves as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs managing the Obama Administration’s relationships with state elected officials.

Before joining the White House, Adrian served as the Senior Advisor for Immigration Reform at Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he was the National Latino Vote Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, where he oversaw the implementation of a program to engage and turnout Latino voters across the country. Following the election, Adrian joined the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee as the Director of Constituency Engagement. He has also worked on numerous electoral campaigns and as the National Field Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Adrian began his government service in the United States House of Representatives, first as a legislative aide and Communications Director for Texas Congressman Charlie Gonzalez and later as Chief of Staff to two separate Members of Congress. In that capacity he developed and directed district-focused constituent service, legislative and outreach programs that utilized grassroots coalitions and partnerships with community leaders and advocacy groups, as well as Federal, state and local-level decision makers.

While an employee of the U.S. House, Adrian also served as President of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association, an organization focused on increasing the number of Hispanic staffers in the United States Congress and promoting career development and advancement opportunities for Hispanic congressional staffers.

A native of Brownsville, Texas, Adrian received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Rohan Patel
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Rohan Patel is a Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he serves as the liaison to local elected officials. Previously, Rohan served as Associate Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, overseeing climate change and conservation issues. After the 2008 inauguration, he joined the Obama administration as Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary Vilsack at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he focused on Food Safety, Immigration, and Transportation. Prior to his appointment, he spent two years on the Obama Presidential Campaign, where he served in various capacities in Iowa, Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana, and Chicago. He has also served on the staffs of Governor Chet Culver (D-IA), the Iowa Senate Democrats, and Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). Rohan is a graduate of Northwestern University and a native of Goshen, Indiana.

Ryan Daniels
Associate Director for Communications

Ryan Daniels serves as the Associate Director for Communications for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, Ryan was a Spokesperson for Tax Policy, Economic Policy, and the Budget at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Before joining the Administration, Ryan was the Deputy National Press Secretary and African American Media Advisor at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. During the 2012 election cycle, he worked for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte as the Deputy Press Secretary and then joined the Obama campaign and served as a Regional Press Secretary in Virginia. Prior to working on the convention, Ryan was a Senior Account Executive at Edelman Public Relations. Ryan got his start in political communication in 2007 with an internship in the press office of then House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and was later hired as the Press Assistant.

Ryan is originally from Gaithersburg, Maryland and graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Mass Communication.

Elias Alcantara
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Elias Alcantara serves as Associate Director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as a liaison for local officials across the country. Previously, he served as a U.S. Fellow for the Organization of American States and resided in Santiago, Chile for two years. While in Chile, he completed coursework for a Master of Arts in International Studies at the Universidad de Chile’s Institute of International Studies. Elias is a graduate of Lehman College of the City University of New York(CUNY) and is originally from the Bronx, New York.

Katherine Branch
Director of Special Projects and Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor

Katherine Branch is the Director of Special Projects and Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett. In this role, she oversees and executes a variety of projects designed to support the Senior Advisor in her roles as head of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and as chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Branch has been a key member of the Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs team since the very beginning of the President’s first term, and has played a vital role in its work to promote the President’s agenda.

Prior to joining the White House, Kathy worked at The Habitat Company as Executive Assistant to then-CEO Valerie Jarrett. Prior to that, Kathy served in the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Branch graduated from the University of Phoenix with an BSB/M in Business.

Bridget Cummings
Staff Assistant for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Bridget Cummings serves as a Staff Assistant for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, where she works to engage local elected officials. Previously, she served as a White House intern in the Office of Legislative Affairs, working with the House liaison team. Prior to joining the White House, Bridget interned at the Department of Justice in the Office of Legislative Affairs. Bridget studied Economics and Political Science at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota and grew up in Chaska, Minnesota.

Monique Dorsainvil
Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Monique Dorsainvil serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to this role, Dorsainvil served as the Director of Planning and Events for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Dorsainvil started at the White House as an intern in the Office of the First Lady in 2009 and subsequently advanced domestic and international visits for the President and First Lady. Dorsainvil joined the Office of Public Engagement in 2010 where she focused her efforts on the Council on Women and Girls and outreach to the LGBT community. Before joining the White House, Dorsainvil worked as an aide to House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in the Georgia General Assembly. Dorsainvil is a native of Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Global Health.

Henock Dory
Staff Assistant

Henock Dory serves as a Staff Assistant for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, Henock worked as an associate at Hamilton Place Strategies, where he conducted issue analysis on wide range of policies surrounding education, international trade, and community-level economic development. Henock earned his B.A. degrees in Political Science and Classics from Stanford University in 2014. Born and raised in California, Henock is a native of Orange County.

David Heifetz
Speechwriter and OPE-IGA advisor

David Heifetz serves as a speechwriter and OPE-IGA advisor on messaging and stakeholder engagement strategy. Prior to this role, David served as the speechwriter to Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, speechwriter and press secretary to the late New Jersey Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, an intern at West Wing Writers, and the speechwriter and personal aide to Alan Khazei during his 2011 Senate campaign in Massachusetts. David is a native of the Boston area and a graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where he studied International Relations and Political Economy.

Alex Jacquez
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Alex Jacquez serves as an Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Before joining the White House, Alex served as a Legislative Analyst in the Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs at the United States Department of Agriculture. He joined the administration as a Confidential Assistant in the Office of Secretary Tom Vilsack at USDA. Previously, Alex worked as a field organizer on Governor Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign and as a ticketing coordinator on his inaugural committee in Virginia. He graduated from Lehigh University where he lettered in baseball and majored in political science. Alex was born and raised in Vienna, Virginia.

Alissa Ko
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Alissa Ko serves as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, working primarily with Attorneys General and state legislators. Before joining the White House, Alissa served as Deputy Director for Ready for Hillary, where she managed the day to day operations of the organization. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Alissa worked on the Obama Biden 2012 campaign as the National Asian American and Pacific Islander Vote Director and Western Operation Vote Director. Following the election, Alissa joined the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee as the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement. She is a native Californian and graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Carly Lindgren
Staff Assistant

Carly Lindgren serves as Staff Assistant for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, where she works to engage state elected officials. Previously she served as a White House intern in the Office of Public Engagement, working on Military and Veteran outreach. Prior to joining the White House, Carly interned in the Crime Strategies Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, and subsequently in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Originally from Connecticut, Carly is a proud graduate of Boston University, where she earned her B.A. degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern Affairs.

Huma Shah
Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett.

Huma Shah serves as the Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett. Before joining the White House, Huma was the assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, and a White House intern in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. She has an M.Phil with Distinction from Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, where she was the Harvard University Paul Williams Scholar in International Government and Public Affairs, and the recipient of the C.A. Bayly award for best dissertation. A New York native, she is a graduate of Harvard College.

Alexandra Sopko
Special Assistant and Policy Advisor to the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Alexandra Sopko is the Special Assistant and Policy Advisor to the Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Before joining the White House, Sopko served as Executive Assistant in the Office of White House Counsel. She previously worked at the United States Olympic Committee, St. Paul’s School in London, and as a sports reporter at The Washington Times before interning in the White House Office of Public Engagement. Originally from Bethesda, MD, Sopko is a proud graduate of Harvard College.

Raina Thiele
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Raina Thiele is Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and works as the liaison for tribes and the American Indian and Alaska Native community. Prior to her current position, she most recently served as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) working on a wide variety of domestic and international issues. She previously worked as a Legislative Analyst at OMB and worked on tribal outreach for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Raina earned her B.A. from Yale College and her Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Born and raised in Alaska, her family hails from the rural communities of Pedro Bay Native Village on Lake Iliamna and Alexander Creek near Mount Susitna. She is Dena’ina Athabascan and Yup’ik.

Alex Yudelson
Special Assistant and Policy Advisor to the Chief of Staff for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs

Alex Yudelson serves as the Special Assistant and Policy Advisor to the Chief of Staff for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, where he serves as the primary liaison to sports teams, leagues, and athletes. Alex previously served as an intern in the White House Office of Public Engagement. Prior to joining the White House, Alex worked in the athletic department at George Washington University, his alma mater. During college, Alex studied abroad at the University of Oxford and was chosen to be a delegate for President Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Originally from Rochester, NY, Alex graduated from George Washington University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science.