In a letter to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Nevada Senator Harry Reid on Tuesday called on Republicans to work with Democrats to address the deepening debt crisis facing Puerto Rico.
Reid urged McConnell to instruct his caucus to work with Democrats by appointing a task force to develop a responsible, bipartisan solution to this crisis by the end of February. The task force should include the leaders of relevant Senate committees, including the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over matters relating to the territories, the letter stated.
“Puerto Rico faces a severe economic and fiscal crisis that threatens the well-being of more than 3.5 million Americans. Congress has the responsibility to act to protect its citizens,” Reid said. “For months, Democrats have tried to work with Republicans on a bipartisan compromise to address this crisis, but Republicans have refused to budge.”
“We have offered multiple commonsense proposals that would empower Puerto Rico to address this problem, but we need Republicans to work with us to get to a solution,” the Congressman added.
“I hope my Republican colleagues will work with us to address Puerto Rico’s debt problem in a meaningful way. We can and must act swiftly. Senate Democrats are ready to work across the aisle towards a real, long-term solution for Puerto Rico. Americans in Puerto Rico need our help, and we cannot turn our backs on them,” he said.
In December, Reid cosponsored S. 2436, known as the Puerto Rico Emergency Financial Stability Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on legal action against Puerto Rico until March 31st, the date by which House Speaker Paul Ryan instructed House committees to come up with a reasonable solution to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis.
The lawmaker previously cosponsored S. 1774, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act, which would have enabled the island’s government to restructure its debt and restored Puerto Rico’s access to the same tools available to all states.