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Reid Urges McConnell to Take Action on Puerto Rico Debt Crisis

By on January 13, 2016

SAN JUAN – In a letter to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid called on Republicans to work with Democrats to address the deepening debt crisis facing Puerto Rico.

Reid urged McConnell to instruct his caucus to work with Democrats by appointing a task force to develop a responsible, bipartisan solution to this crisis by the end of February. As noted in the letter below, the task force should include the leaders of relevant Senate committees, including the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over matters relating to the territories.

“Puerto Rico faces a severe economic and fiscal crisis that threatens the well-being of more than 3.5 million Americans. Congress has the responsibility to act to protect its citizens. For months, Democrats have tried to work with Republicans on a bipartisan compromise to address this crisis, but Republicans have refused to budge. We have offered multiple commonsense proposals that would empower Puerto Rico to address this problem, but we need Republicans to work with us to get to a solution. That is why today I sent a letter to the Republican leader urging him to appoint a task force on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. I am confident that such a task force can develop a comprehensive proposal that will provide Puerto Rico with the restructuring tools it needs to emerge from this crisis,” said Reid. “I hope my Republican colleagues will work with us to address Puerto Rico’s debt problem in a meaningful way. We can and must act swiftly. Senate Democrats are ready to work across the aisle towards a real, long-term solution for Puerto Rico. Americans in Puerto Rico need our help, and we cannot turn our backs on them.”

In December, Reid cosponsored S. 2436, the Puerto Rico Emergency Financial Stability Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on legal action against Puerto Rico until March 31, the date by which House Speaker Paul Ryan instructed House committees to come up with a “reasonable” solution to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. Reid previously cosponsored S. 1774, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, which would have enabled Puerto Rico to restructure its debt and restored the island’s access to the same tools available to all states.

Read the full letter here.

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