Monday, June 17, 2024

Clinton Plans Puerto Rico Visit, Supports Debt Re-Structuring For Island

Clinton - PR

Hillary Clinton is aiming to shore up support in the Puerto Rican community with a campaign stop and fundraiser on a September 4th visit to the debt-strapped island. Clinton will also use the campaign stop as an opportunity to once again highlight her support of allowing the U.S. territory to restructure its debt under Chapter 9 bankruptcy currently available to U.S. municipalities but not Puerto Rico because of its territory status.

Clinton will be the third major 2016 presidential candidate to visit Puerto Rico following Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and democratic challenger and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley who is making an aggressive push for the Latino vote in the election.

Puerto Rico has a debt of $72 billion and is facing $600 million in payments to bond holders this month alone in addition to a $58 million missed payment. Democrats in the Senate have sponsored a bill to grant Puerto Rico bankruptcy filing authority but it remains unclear if Republicans will support the measure. In the House, a similar bill sponsored by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s representative in the House, has thus far languished in the chamber. A working group charged with formulating recommendations on the debt crisis is set to report its findings to Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla at the end of the month, just before Clinton’s visit.

In discussing the potential influence of Puerto Ricans on the presidential election, particularly in the battleground state of Florida, Rafael Fantauzzi, CEO of the National Puerto Rico Coalition said “it’s important for people to understand that Puerto Rican people on the mainland also are very concerned about what is happening on the island.” He added that “any candidate who wants to have a serious chance at the White House should be taking into consideration the 3.5 million people living on the island of Puerto Rico.”

NBC News Latino