Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and House colleagues last week passed a bill aimed at helping Puerto Rico resolve its debt crisis. The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) will allow the island to restructure its $70 billion debt, though other provisions in the bill have raised concern among lawmakers who feel it will hurt Puerto Rican workers.
“This is a deeply flawed bill, but the reality is that without swift action, Puerto Rico’s already tenuous economic situation is going to balloon into a humanitarian crisis,” Congressman Engel said. “I voted in favor of this legislation because the people of Puerto Rico cannot wait any longer. They don’t deserve to live in a place where hospitals and schools are shutting down because there’s no money to keep them open. But there are parts of this bill that I find deeply problematic. I was disappointed that House Republicans insisted on extracting concessions from Puerto Rican workers in order to secure basic legal protections for the island that every American municipality enjoys. These men and women are American citizens and they do not deserve to be treated—quite literally—like second-class citizens by House Republicans.
“I am hopeful the Senate will give swift consideration to this legislation and send it to the President for his signature. Puerto Rico needs this legislation to address their debt crisis and avoid defaulting on their legal obligations which come due .”