The Obama administration is siding with Speaker Paul Ryan on how to properly identify the Puerto Rico rescue legislation currently under consideration by the House of Representatives.
Conservative House members drew Ryan’s ire after describing the legislation as a “bailout bill” for Puerto Rico, something that the Speaker’s office has worked to tamp down.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to assist Puerto Rico, allowing them to restructure their debt. He also joined Ryan’s effort to denounce any attempt to brand the bill as a bailout.
“Just to be clear, because there does appear to be some misinformation that’s being spread about this, this is not a bailout,” he said during the White House press briefing. “I’ve said many times the administration doesn’t support a bailout of Puerto Rico. We don’t. We have never and we don’t now.”
On Wednesday, Ryan blamed “big-money interest groups on Wall Street” who were trying to sabotage the Puerto Rico bill by branding it as a bailout bill.
“My number one priority as speaker of the House with respect to this issue is to keep the American taxpayer away from this,” Ryan told reporters yesterday. “There will no taxpayer bailout.”
The Center for Individual Freedom has spent close to $2 million to challenge lawmakers who are writing the bill with negative ads, according to Politico.
Some conservative Republican members are concerned that the legislation puts Puerto Rico on the path for a bailout.
“I’m saying it could be the first step toward that,” Rep. Jeff Fleming told Bloomberg News after Republican representatives met today to clarify the nature of the bill.