Biden follows Trump in defending Puerto Rico benefits exclusion

World1 hour ago (Jun 07, 2021 12:56PM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden departs after delivering an update on his administration’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 2, 2

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Monday said his administration will defend at the U.S. Supreme Court a law that excludes Puerto Rico from a federal program that provides benefits to low-income elderly, blind and disabled people, adhering to the same policy as his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.

Biden, a Democrat, said in a statement that he opposes the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provision in question but that the Justice Department has a duty to defend it. The justices in March took up a U.S. government appeal originally filed by Trump’s administration of a lower court ruling that found the exclusion unlawful.

“This provision is inconsistent with my administration’s policies and values. However, the Department of Justice has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of federal statutes, regardless of policy preferences,” Biden said.

Biden called on Congress to amend the law so Puerto Ricans would not longer be excluded.

The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year in favor of a Puerto Rican resident named Jose Luis Vaello-Madero who had previously received SSI benefits when he lived in New York but lost eligibility when he moved to Puerto Rico in 2013.

The 1st Circuit decided that Puerto Rico’s exclusion from the program violated a provision of the U.S. Constitution that requires that laws apply equally to everyone.

The SSI benefits are available to any U.S. citizen living in any of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the Northern Mariana Islands, but not the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

The decision not to include Puerto Rico was made by Congress when it enacted the program in 1972. Puerto Ricans are eligible for a different program, called Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled, that allows for more local control but not as much federal funding, the Justice Department said in court papers.

After Biden took office in January, some advocates urged his administration to drop the appeal as did Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, a Republican who is Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in the U.S. Congress.

Many Puerto Ricans have complained that the Caribbean island’s residents are treated worse than other Americans despite being U.S. citizens. Puerto Rico, which is not a state, is the most-populous of the U.S. territories, with about 3 million people.

The Supreme Court will hear and decide the case in its next term, which starts in October and ends in June 2022.

Biden follows Trump in defending Puerto Rico benefits exclusion

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Related Stories


Tennis-Unseeded Krejcikova wins maiden Grand Slam title in Paris

World38 minutes ago (Jun 12, 2021 12:26PM ET) 6/6 (C) Reuters. Tennis - French Open -...

Biden to hold solo news conference after Putin summit

World54 minutes ago (Jun 12, 2021 12:10PM ET) (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe...

Apple’s iPadOS 15 breaks the app barrier

The announcement of new iPad software at this year’s WWDC conference had an abnormally...

7 new security features Apple quietly announced at WWDC

Apple went big on privacy during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote this week,...

This Week in Apps: WWDC 21 highlights, Instagram Creator...

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile...

Popular Categories