Although House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has refused to endorse Donald Trump for president at this time, there is at least one issue on which the two Republican leaders agree: restructuring Puerto Rico’s debt.
“I think you could restructure [Puerto Rico’s] debt without a bailout,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said on Fox News Thursday, as also reported by Bloomberg. “I would be so helpful,” he added, referring to his long history of using debt to advance his business interests.
Trump further recognized that Puerto Rico cannot pay back its $72 billion debt, a sentiment consistent with his previous statement on CNN that the island “can’t survive with the kind of debt they have.”
“Let the bondholders take a hit,” he said in the Fox interview.
Legislation to permit Puerto Rico to restructure its debt, the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (H.R. 4900), is under consideration in the House of Representatives. The legislation’s opponents have consistently labeled it a “bailout” even though it does not call for any federal funds to be provided to the U.S. territory.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has repeatedly said it’s urgent that Congress act on the Puerto Rico debt crisis, and a 2015 proposal by the Treasury Department contained a restructuring component.
“Puerto Rico doesn’t have decades, Puerto Rico has a crisis today,” Lew said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “The need for action is urgent.”
Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have also introduced legislative proposals that grant Puerto Rico authority to restructure its debt.
Read more – Trump: I’m the King of Debt