The House Natural Resources Committee today approved legislation to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt under the guidance of a federally appointed oversight board, an important step toward Congress passing the bill before the island defaults on $2 billion in payments July 1. The measure passed by a vote of 29-10.
In a likely preview of consideration on the House floor, several creditor-friendly amendments offered by Republicans were rejected by bipartisan votes. That preserved the deal struck by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Obama administration, as well as the negotiated language drafted by the committee chair and ranking member.
This included a proposal from Rep. McClintock (R-CA) to exempt debt backed by the full faith and credit of the commonwealth from any restructuring, and others to tighten language protecting the standing of bond payments in the Puerto Rican constitution.
The committee's vote without major changes makes it easier for passage by the House of Representatives. What remains unclear is whether Republicans can count on a majority of their conference to pass the bill.