Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi announced Tuesday that Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, will cosponsor S. 1774, the identical companion bill in the Senate to HR 870, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, which Pierluisi introduced in the House of Representatives in February.
Senator Leahy’s office advised Pierluisi’s office and Leahy will be formally added as a cosponsor. In addition, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a moderate who sits on the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, has also agreed to cosponsor S. 1774, which was introduced last week by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, and 10 other U.S. Senators, including Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
HR 870 and S. 1774 would empower the government of Puerto Rico to authorize its insolvent municipalities, namely its public corporations, to adjust their debts in an orderly fashion under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code.
“Every state is already empowered to authorize its municipalities to adjust their debts and Puerto Rico was empowered to authorize its municipalities to adjust their debts from 1938 until 1984, when Congress inexplicably removed this power from Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi said.
HR 870 has already been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Treasury and by the top Democrats in the U.S. House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers.
“I want to thank Senator Leahy and Senator Warner for supporting this legislation, which has been endorsed by virtually all bankruptcy experts, the major newspaper editorial boards, numerous conservative individuals and organizations, and the vast majority of stakeholders in the financial community,” said Pierluisi.
“It is my hope that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on S. 1774 and that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a vote on HR 870, since a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee already held a positive hearing on the bill in February,” Pierluisi said.
“Working with Senator Blumenthal, Senator Schumer and other allies, I will continue to do everything possible to move this legislation forward on a bipartisan basis,” he added.