White House: Puerto Rico Lacks Representation in Congress to Push Bailout Bill

Puerto Rico AP

The Obama administration signaled concern about the fate of the Puerto Rico “bailout bill” which would allow them to restructure billions of dollars of debt.

During the White House press briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest pointed out that the people of Puerto Rico lacked representation in Congress while lawmakers were working on a bill to fix the public debt crisis.

“There’s not a clear constituency to apply pressure to members of Congress to make sure that they’re doing the right thing,” Earnest said.

Earnest praised Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for serving as “good faith actors” in the plan but cited “technical concerns” with it.

He also warned that bondholders of Puerto Rico’s debt were powerful enough to lobby Congress successfully for their best interests.

“When you consider the bondholders who are holding this debt, these are almost by definition rich and powerful people who have a clear financial interest in getting a deal that reflects their financial interests, and not the interests of the 3.5 million people living in Puerto Rico,” he said.

Earnest cited concerns with “unnecessary provisions” in the legislation on federal lands and worker protections as well as the lack of “sufficient authority” to restructure their debt.