Congress Shows No Rush to Assist Puerto Rico As Crisis Worsens
Sharon Edmondson, Washington Legislative Team Member | December 08, 2015
U.S. lawmakers showed little indication that they will soon act to rescue Puerto Rico from its fiscal crisis as Governor Padilla urged them to give the island power to file for bankruptcy so it can restructure its $70 billion in debt.
Senator Grassley (R-IOWA) who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee said there is no imminent bill to assist Puerto Rico at this time. There have been five hearings this year focused on Puerto Rico’s finances and lawmakers did not act on any legislation.
Officials of Puerto Rico and Democrats have backed a measure to extend bankruptcy protections to the commonwealth, which would allow some of its agencies to file for bankruptcy. Relief has also been sought by increasing the island’s funding for federal health-care, which would ease some of the pressure on its government. The bankruptcy bills introduced to Congress have stalled for lack of Republican support and no alternatives have been introduced. Republicans remain cautious and are looking for precise estimates of how much aid is needed before they will take further action.