For Immediate Release
Representative Duffy Pushes Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Legislation
WASHINGTON - Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) is calling on Congress to intervene in Puerto Rico's debt crisis. In a speech on the House floor, Duffy said, "we can't turn a blind eye" to "our brothers and sisters on the island." Duffy introduced the "Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Restructuring Choice Act" to extend bankruptcy protection and create an independent financial review board for the debt troubled island. Puerto Rico owes $72 billion in debt and faces a nearly 1 billion dollar payment come January.
"Congress needs to immediately address the humanitarian crisis affecting 3.5 million Americans" said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. LeCompte consults Puerto Rico's religious leaders on solutions to the island's debt crisis. "Representative Duffy offers a new opportunity for Congress to act."
In his speech, Duffy noted that nearly 50% of the island's population lives in poverty and its unemployment rate is double the rate on the US mainland. In arguing for bankruptcy protection, Duffy noted that Americans in Puerto Rico should have the same rights as Americans on the mainland. Puerto Rico's Member of Congress, Pedro Pierluisi, introduced legislation earlier this year to allow the island access to Chapter 9 protection but without a review board. Under Duffy's legislation, Puerto Rico's government would need to approve the board's creation for it to take effect.
"Congress must take immediate action," said LeCompte. "With Congress slow to act, Treasury should intervene."
Read the Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Restructuring Choice Act.
Watch Congressman Duffy's speech on the House floor.
Read a timeline of Puerto Rico's debt crisis.
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.