Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have introduced a new bill that would essentially wipe out tens of billions of dollars of Puerto Rico’s $73 billion in outstanding debt.
The proposed legislation entitled the “U.S. Territorial Relief Act of 2018,” which counts Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as co-sponsors of the bill, says the bill “provides an avenue to comprehensive debt relief for Puerto Rico and other hurricane-ravaged U.S. territories so that they have a chance to get back on their feet,” according to the one-pager of the bill.
“Greedy Wall Street vulture funds must not be allowed to reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the Puerto Rican people for a second longer. It is time to end Wall Street’s stranglehold on Puerto Rico’s future, return control of the island to the people of Puerto Rico and give the territory the debt relief it so desperately needs to rebuild with dignity,” said Senator Sanders.
“Puerto Rico was already being squeezed before Hurricane Maria hit and will now have to rebuild under the weight of crushing debt. Our bill will give territories that have suffered an extraordinary crisis a route to comprehensive debt relief and a chance to get back on their feet,” said Senator Warren. “Disaster funding and the other resources in struggling territories’ budgets must not go to Wall Street vulture funds who snapped up their debt. Congress should pass this legislation right away – our fellow U.S. citizens are counting on us.”
The proposed legislation, which also has Sen. Bernie Sanders name listed as a sponsor, would give Puerto Rico and other US territories the choice to terminate its non-pension debt load if they meet “certain stringent criteria,” according to the bill.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) is planning to introduce a companion bill in the House of Representatives in September.