On Tuesday, December 15, 2015 5:59 PM, Congressman Joe Courtney <[email protected]> wrote:
Thank you for contacting me regarding Puerto Rico’s public debt. I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views.
As you know, Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis has reached a critical point in recent months. With over $73 billion in outstanding commonwealth debt, Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced in June that Puerto Rico would likely not be able to make payments on some of its debts. In August, Puerto Rico failed to meet a $58 million debt payment for the first time, intensifying concerns over Puerto Rico’s financial and economic future.
An orderly, structured debt resolution or bankruptcy process is clearly necessary to prevent a collapse of Puerto Rico’s economy. However, as Puerto Rico is not treated as a state under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, it cannot restructure any of its municipalities’ debts. To alleviate this issue, Rep. Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico introduced H.R. 870, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, which would provide Puerto Rico with state-like treatment under Chapter 9, allowing it to restructure more of its debts. I am a supporter and cosponsor of this bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. President Obama has requested that Congress act to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its commonwealth debt, but Congressional Republicans have thus far refused to allow action on the issue.
Most recently, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the case of Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust in 2016, which considers whether Puerto Rico’s public utilities can restructure their debts. Please know that I appreciate your concern, and I will continue to follow this issue closely in the weeks and months ahead.
Again, thank you for sharing your views on this issue with me. Should you have any additional comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future. For more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website at courtney.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter at courtney.house.gov/forms/
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