Independent oversight needed for Puerto Rico debt solution: Treasury’s Lew

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew speaks at a joint news conference with the British and French Finance Ministers following their participation in a United Nations Security Council meeting to approve a resolution to cut funding for Islamic State at U.N. headquarters in New York, December 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Segar

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew speaks at a joint news conference with the British and French Finance Ministers following their participation in a United Nations Security Council meeting to approve a resolution to cut funding for Islamic State at U.N. headquarters in New York, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

ReutersU.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Thursday it is “essential” that Puerto Rico be given access to a mechanism to restructure its debt, calling on Congress to “act quickly” to address the island’s $70 billion debt crisis.

A solution for Puerto Rico “must include both independent oversight” of the island’s finances “and an orderly process to restructure the commonwealth’s debt,” Lew said in a statement on Thursday night. The Treasury had previously voiced support for passing laws to allow Puerto Rico to file bankruptcy.

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