A new editorial from El Nuevo Dia, one of Puerto Rico’s major newspapers, calls on Congress to support PROMESA, also known as H.R. 5278, the bill now in Congress which is intended to help Puerto Rico restructure debt and strengthen the economy.
“The moment of decision has arrived and the United States House of Representatives must now face the dilemma of allowing Puerto Rico to restructure, in an orderly way, much of its debt and to improve its economy, or leave their fate to a U.S. territory on the edge of collapse,” the editorial says. “Those are the only two options that are before Congress today, which is why we urge Republican and Democrat representatives to act accordingly and approve H.R. 5278, which would create a federal board of fiscal control with powers to make decisions on the budget, fiscal plans and emergency projects in addition to dealing with the monumental public debt.”
The article acknowledges that PROMESA is not perfect and hopes that improvements will be made during the approval process. “There is, however, consensus among proponents of the legislation that this is the only hope Puerto Rico has to avoid the fiscal cliff that would result from the non-payment of about $2 billion it owes to its bondholders on July 1”
Those who oppose the message are, the editorial says, aggressively working against it with the support of labor unions and Puerto Rican leaders.
“These leaders must take seriously the warning that the White House does not have an alternate plan for Puerto Rico,” the authors point out.
President Barack Obama spent 45 minutes in the Oval Office with Puerto Rican Congressional Democrats José Serrano, Nydia Velázquez and Luis Gutiérrez ands well as Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi. He emphasized the importance of taking action before it is too late. Gov. Alejandro García Padilla has also pledged support for PROMESA, in spite of his concerns about the bill.
El Nuevo Dia points out that the bill, now before the House Rules Committee, has dozens of amendments on the table. These include increased fairness in the federal Medicaid and Medicaid programs.
“We reiterate our support for the measure,” the article continues. “The Fiscal Control Board is designed to provide the conditions necessary to avoid financial collapse.”
“H.R. 5278 is the only card available to obtain a solid legal basis that can sustain not only initiatives to prevent fiscal chaos but also those that help us forge new paths of progress,” the authors conclude. “Defeating the measure is tantamount to opening the door wide to numerous and very expensive lawsuits due to a default that the government of Puerto Rico could not cope with successfully and which would without a doubt result in serious harm to all citizens.”