Puerto Rico’s crisis is garnering attention in national circles. Following reports of Senators Schumer and Blumenthal’s intention to file a bill extending Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico, we have started to hear reactions from presidential candidates.
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley was the first to issue a statement, saying “As a nation we must help our fellow U.S. citizens not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because our region’s economic stability depends on it.” He also called on Congress to approve HR 870, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi’s counterpart bill to Schumer’s and Blumenthal’s, and noted Puerto Rico’s unequal treatment on Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. O’Malley’s attention to Puerto Rico is not exactly unexpected, since his campaign has been making moves in the territory, and seems to be active on social media dedicated to Puerto Rico.
Hillary Clinton followed O’Malley, making a brief statement on Twitter:
Puerto Rico's debt crisis is not theirs alone. For PR's economy to grow & their people to thrive, they need real tools & real support. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 1, 2015
As of publishing time, it is unclear what Clinton means by real tools and real support. Her reaction might be seen by some as rebuff to the Obama administration, which has adamantly denied the possibility of a bailout, and has not even endorsed Pierluisi’s bill in Congress (although that might actually help the bill).
Jeb Bush has expressed his support for Puerto Rico to have access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy as well.
“Congress and the Obama administration need to partner with Puerto Rico by providing real support and tools so that Puerto Rico can do the hard work it will take to get on a path toward stability and prosperity.
As a first step, Congress should provide Puerto Rico the same authority that states already have to enable severely distressed government entities, including municipalities and public corporations, to restructure their debts under Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code.”