The House passed legislation on Thursday that aims to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt and prevent further economic damage in the territory. The legislation, supported by the White House, now heads to the Senate.
Finding a solution for Puerto Rico was one of Speaker Ryan’s top priorities and the legislation passed his chamber on a bipartisan 297-127 vote. Three of the main proponents of the legislation were Puerto Rican and two were Democrats. Representative Raul Labrador (R) helped write the bill and Representatives Nydia Velázquez (D) and Jose Serrano (D) both endorsed the legislation.
“As a person who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and somebody who is very proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, I love the people, I love the island and I hope this bill sets them on the path to fiscal responsibility and a brighter future,” Labrador said.
Velázquez said, “The stark reality we now face is that, other than PROMESA, there are simply no other politically feasible options left on the table.”
“Watching the island sink as Congress has ignored our pleas for help has been disheartening and difficult,” Serrano said of the political situation. “We are now faced with urgent needs, as Puerto Rico is running out of time and cash.”
Puerto Rico faces a July 1 deadline for a $2 billion debt payment. The territory’s inability to pay its debt has caused it to shut schools down and lay off medical workers. The pension fund is also underfunded.