NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Tuesday criticized Republicans for not helping debt-crippled Puerto Rico.
Mark-Viverito, who herself was born in Puerto Rico, said Tuesday that “it won’t be forgotten” that Republicans in Congress opposed aid to the U.S. territory when passing last week’s catch-all spending bill.
The speaker, one of the nation’s leading Puerto Rican politicians, singled out U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) He previously supported a bailout before opposing it.
Mark-Viverito claimed that was “an egregious flip-flop” and said she and other Latino activists would rally Florida’s 1 million Puerto Ricans on this issue in 2016.
Rubio did not immediately return a request for comment. Many Republicans believe a bailout should be a last resort.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ordered lawmakers to come up with a solution by March.
Earlie this month, Mark-Viverito had been urging Congress to pass a spending bill allowing for Puetro Rico to restructure its debt – along with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-The Bronx).
But a spending bill without any such provisions was later issued.
Territorial bankruptcy protection laws would have helped the territory restructure their debt in a way that would also help stimulate economic growth, the politicians said in a statement Sunday.
Republicans have opposed allowing Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy as a way to help mitigate their $72 billion government debt.
The unincorporated U.S. territory is struggling to make payments.
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