García Padilla Continues Efforts to Amend Promesa
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla met Tuesday with officials from the U.S. Treasury and the White House in Washington, D.C., as part of efforts to secure more favorable federal legislation that could help the commonwealth tackle its fiscal woes.
The governor held discussions with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and his adviser on the matter, Antonio Weiss, as he seeks to introduce changes to the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability Act (Promesa). He also met with Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Ca.), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi.
Meanwhile, another meeting over the bill also took place Wednesday, this time between President Barack Obama and Democratic members of Congress of Puerto Rican origin, including Pierluisi.
Obama expressed his support to the bipartisan measure, stressing that it is currently the only option for federal action that would decisively address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis, according to a statement issued by the resident commissioner.
Promesa, which is expected to come down for a vote on the House floor this week, would establish a strong, independent fiscal oversight board that would also control the commonwealth’s access to debt-restructuring tools.
While García Padilla acknowledges that Promesa would provide the commonwealth with the tools it needs to restructure a large chunk of its $70-billion debt, he believes that changes to the fiscal board’s language are nevertheless needed, La Fortaleza stated Tuesday afternoon.
Since a new version of the bill was released last month, the governor has repeatedly stated that the proposed board would have excessive powers that would hinder the commonwealth’s self-governance.
García Padilla left for Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to continue lobbying efforts over the bill. La Fortaleza stated at the time that he would return to the island on Thursday, as he continues to seek support from the Obama administration and Congress.
Secretary of State-designate Víctor Suárez is acting as interim governor until García Padilla returns to the island.