Friday, December 2, 2022

Senate Tables Amendments to Debt Moratorium

By on May 9, 2016

SAN JUAN – The Senate on Monday suspended consideration of House amendments to the law that would allow the governor to declare a moratorium on the debt.

Senate President Eduardo Bhatia

Senate President Eduardo Bhatia

Recently, Senate President Eduardo Bhatia and other lawmakers said the bill was going to be approved but that the senators were not going to exclude the general obligation (GO) and Cofina debt in the debt moratorium measure as approved by the House.

“We are clarifying the debt moratorium law…. We are merely clarifying its scope and the purpose of the law,” he said at a recent news conference with Senate majority leader Aníbal José Torres and Sen. Jorge Suárez.

The Senate’s move came about after the governor decided to declare a moratorium on Government Development Bank (GDB) debt.

“The petition made to Congress is to include all of the debt [in a restructuring]…. The government has to be consistent…. We cannot ask them to include all of the debt and then have us exclude [some of the debt] here,” Bhatia said. “We want to be consistent because that is what we ask of Congress.”

Caribbean Business learned that the majority did not have the votes needed for approval..

However, Bhatia said he had the votes to pass the bill but that he was waiting for the GDB and the municipalities to complete negotiations involving the additional special tax, known as CAE in Spanish. The cities want to separate the cities’ portfolio from that of the government.

If the Senate passes the bill, it will have to go back to the House, which is not expected to concur with the amendments.

The Senate’s vote on the bill was postponed until Thursday.

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