NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Democratic officials like City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are urging Congress to pass a final spending bill that would allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt.
Mark-Viverito was joined by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-The Bronx) and other local politicians at City Hall on Sunday for a press conference on Puerto’s current fiscal crisis, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.
“This is not a bailout, it will not cost anything,” Mark-Viverito said. “If we are able to have access to the bankruptcy protection laws that we are demanding.”
Territorial bankruptcy protections laws would help the territory restructure their debt in a way that would also help stimulate economic growth, the politicians said in a statement.
Republicans have opposed allowing Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy as a way to help mitigate their $72 billion government debt. Congress is still mulling over several other versions of the bill — which could possibly be included in the upcoming 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill.
“Not only 3.5 million Puerto Ricans but five million on the main land are watching,” Velazquez said.
The decision to include the legislation in the upcoming Omnibus bill ultimately falls on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Puerto Rico faces a $1 billion debt payment on January 1.