Meet Rob Bishop, the man who might have saved Puerto Rico

by Jun 16, 2016Bocaítos0 comments

We had earlier noted how there were two entirely divergent discourses in Puerto Rico and in Washington, DC, and today we have another glaring example. While Puerto Rican officials lambast the PROMESA bill as an act of colonial rule, in DC, its main author called the person that “might have saved Puerto Rico.”

The House managed to pass a complicated, high-stakes and surprisingly bipartisan piece of legislation on Thursday — a bill that gives Puerto Rico a path out of its mounting fiscal crisis by creating a new federally appointed financial oversight board and an orderly process for restructuring its $72 billion in bond debt. At the center of the long and thorny negotiations was Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the Natural Resources Committee chairman whose dry wit and closet full of three-piece suits have made him one of the most indelible personalities of the House Republican Conference.

PowerPost spoke to the seven-term lawmaker Friday, a day after the House voted 297 to 127 to pass the rescue bill — giving the Senate less than three weeks to act before Puerto Rico goes over a July 1 fiscal cliff when $2 billion in bondholder payments are due. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Regardless of your position on the bill, it is interesting to see the two sides on this issue, being Puerto Ricans on one hand, and DC politicos on the other, speak entirely past each other. Part of that is due, admittedly, to Puerto Rico’s denial that nothing but PROMESA will, or can be approved in this Congress. But it also reflects, and validates to a certain extent, the claim that Congress is completely ignoring the will of the people of Puerto Rico.