House Advances Aid Plan For Debt-Stricken Puerto Rico

The U.S. territory has already defaulted on several payments on its billion-dollar debt burden.
Posted at 11:12 PM, May 18, 2016

Puerto Rico is $70 billion in debt and is having serious trouble meeting its payments. Republicans in the House of Representatives think they've finally got a plan to help.

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop told reporters lawmakers had reached a tentative agreement with the Treasury Department on a plan to restructure Puerto Rico's debt.

This breakthrough could be a win for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who made resolving the debt crisis a top priority at the start of the year. A rep from Ryan's office cautioned the deal was still in its early stages and could take awhile to be finalized.

The House has been hung up on the fine details of this issue for months. Republicans are leery about supporting a bailout that hurts the island's creditors, while Democrats are equally unwilling to punish Puerto Rico in the restructuring plan.

Republicans have a strong incentive to reach a legislative fix before November; the island's plight has become a Democratic cause célèbre, and both Democratic presidential campaigns have blasted Congress' inaction on the issue.