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Blumenthal Statement on Obama Administration Proposal to Help Puerto Rico Address Its Fiscal Challenges

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement regarding the legislative proposal put forward yesterday by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to help Puerto Rico address its economic and fiscal challenges. The proposal calls on Congress to begin by passing Blumenthal’s legislation to let Puerto Rico restructure its municipal debt, one of the most serious threats to the Puerto Rican economy.

This proposal—which begins with my Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act—is an essential, commonsense blueprint for preventing a humanitarian and financial catastrophe. Creditors, investors, ordinary citizens, all will be harmed if the Congress fails to act. Even as Congress works on this broader proposal, it should immediately pass my Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, which provides equal treatment for Puerto Rico and is supported by experts from across the political spectrum. More than 80,000 Puerto Ricans fled the island last year for the mainland to escape dire and dangerous conditions, and this year promises to be worse. Congress should not delay another day while 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico continue to suffer.”

Blumenthal has led the Senate effort to provide necessary support to Puerto Rico, introducing the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, which would address the growing fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico by granting Puerto Rico the authority to allow its municipalities and public utilities to readjust their debts under the supervision of a bankruptcy court. The legislation would provide Puerto Rico with the same authority granted to all U.S. states.