Week ahead: Puerto Rico deadline nears

By Sylvan Lane – 04/25/16
imagesPuerto Rico has a major payment due May 1 on its more than $70 billion in debt that it can’t make, and the commonwealth may not be able to count on help from Congress.

It’s exceedingly unlikely that the House will clear a bill to implement a fiscal oversight board and help Puerto Rico restructure its debt by the deadline.

Despite a pledge from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to have a solution ready for consideration by the end of March, lawmakers are still struggling to get a bill ready for committee, the first step in a lengthy process.
The negotiations have been complicated by conservative lawmakers’ concerns that the bill constitutes a bailout, an idea pushed by interest groups representing those who hold Puerto Rico bonds.

Ryan has vehemently denied those charges and tried to rally Republicans behind acting quickly to address Puerto Rico’s woes. Ryan also met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to update them on leadership’s efforts.

The House will press ahead with its work on the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act in the coming week, with the commonwealth expected to default on paying billions in debt.

The House doesn’t have a budget, but across the Capitol, the Senate will be busy at work on their own spending bills.

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