Carper Statement on Puerto Rico Debt Relief Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Finance committee, released the following statement after voting in favor of legislation to aid Puerto Rico in managing its public finances. The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 68-30: 

“For the millions of Americans who call Puerto Rico home, the financial crisis isn’t about debt and austerity measures, it’s about basic human needs and the looming fear that, at any point, medical care, electricity and other critical civil services will suddenly disappear. Quite simply, this economic turmoil has devolved into a humanitarian crisis.

“Working-age Puerto Ricans are fleeing the island at increasingly high rates, and across the commonwealth, public schools are shuttering while hospitals struggle to remain open. Should Puerto Rico miss its looming deadline to repay their creditors what is owed, the government will be forced to slash essential services, leaving millions of Americans in the lurch.

“Our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico deserve the same reliable public services that Americans on the mainland expect to receive, and Congress cannot afford to wait any longer to send them a lifeline. This legislation will take immediate steps to address the island’s growing economic and humanitarian crisis, and provide Puerto Rico’s government with the authority it needs to right its financial ship. Enough harm has already been done, we must now act to ensure the situation doesn’t grow even worse.”