Welcoming U.S. Compromise on Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

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Ruben Diaz

After more than a year of negotiation and advocacy by my office and many others, I am pleased to see an important first step between the White House and Congress on the future fiscal health of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, through H.R. 5278, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).

This bipartisan compromise, while certainly not perfect, is a tremendous step forward and offers many of the solutions that I and others have been advocating for.

Although access to bankruptcy courts would have been preferred, we are encouraged by the bill’s provision to allow Puerto Rico to reduce repayments to creditors. However, the process for appointing members of the proposed control board must ensure that the individuals selected protect the best interests of the Puerto Rican government and its people.

There is still much work needed to be done by Congress to update and revise the Puerto Rican economic regulatory framework. Health care must be delivered more effectively, import costs reduced and infrastructure investments made so that Puerto Rico has greener energy solutions and is prepared for the dramatic changes already being produced by climate change.

I thank the White House and Congress for taking the concerns of the Puerto Rican government, its citizens and their advocates on the mainland seriously and working towards this agreement. I especially want to thank those who have worked assiduously on this compromise, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand; and Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Jose Serrano and Luis Gutiérrez.

The people of Puerto Rico are American citizens, and they deserve the same rights and protections as their countrymen.

 

Ruben Diaz Jr. is the Bronx Borough President.

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