Rep. John Fleming: GOP Leadership Tells Members ‘Remain Silent’ on Puerto Rico Debt Vote

Puerto Rico Economy Ricardo Arduengo, AP
Ricardo Arduengo, AP
Washington, DC

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) says House leadership told members of the Natural Resources Committee “to remain silent, refrain from asking for a recorded vote, or leave the room when the time came for a vote regarding the upcoming Puerto Rico debt restructuring bill” during a meeting held last night.

“In all my time in Congress, no one has ever asked me to do something quite like this, until last night. I was angry,” Fleming stated in a press release. “To be asked to walk away—to be told to miss a vote—is a request that flies in the face of every member’s conscience. Leadership had no business making such a request.” Fleming went on to say:

I thought perhaps I was mistaken about what was really being asked of me. But when it was clear they were seriously asking members of the Committee to stand aside so the bill could pass without amendment or vote, I strongly objected along with some other members. This is the kind of “go along” politics Americans and I are tired of. Anytime we don’t have full transparency we have a bad outcome.

“If the bill comes before the Committee as planned, I will insist on a recorded vote and I will do my best to defeat any bailout this Committee puts before us,” he concluded.

As Puerto Rico approaches an economic crisis and is unable to pay its debts, the island’s leaders are hoping Congress will give them a bailout.

Politico recently reported the House Natural Resources Committee drafted a plan which would give the federal government new power through “a five-member oversight board that could enact laws and regulations over the objections of Puerto Rico’s own elected officials.”


The House Committee on Natural Resources’ press secretary Elise Daniel responded to Fleming’s statement to Breitbart News:

“[Chairman] Bishop initially asked that it go by voice vote–similar to the centennial bill, our most recent markup — but ended the meeting by saying if it was the wish of members to have a recorded vote and amendments that was fine. The Chairman directed his staff to offer assistance to members that had amendments.”