NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Mayor Bill de Blasio and other New York City elected officials are urging Washington to aid Puerto Rico during its fiscal crisis.

Puerto Rico‘s governor said last month that the island’s $72 billion public debt is unpayable given the current level of economic growth.

New York City has a large Puerto Rican population. De Blasio said Tuesday that the community feels “a personal tie” with island residents.

Part of the reason for Puerto Rico’s problems is that a U.S. government phase-out of tax breaks caused a number of big pharmaceutical companies to leave for the Cayman Islands.

De Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was born in Puerto Rico, urged the U.S. government to allow it to declare bankruptcy.

“A crisis largely created by mistakes of federal policy that now has to be corrected by federal action,” de Blasio told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“Let’s be clear: Austerity is not the solution,” Mark-Viverito said.

The speaker also railed against the hedge funds that hold $15 billion of Puerto Rico’s debt.

“They are vultures,” she said. “They are feeding off the misery of the island and of the people.”

Mark-Viverito and de Blasio were joined at the City Hall news conference by Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and other city officials.

The White House has said it is not considering a federal bailout of Puerto Rico.

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