HR 7409, the Territorial Relief Under Sustainable Transitions for Puerto Rico of 2022, or TRUST Bill, is a bill to shut down the PROMESA Fiscal Oversight and Management Board in Puerto Rico. Representative Ritchie Torres introduced the bill in Congress, with cosponsors Jennifer González-Colón, Nydia Velázquez, Darren Soto, and Raul Grijalva.
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) was established in 2016. It put an oversight board in place to help Puerto Rico deal with debt. The board had the power to make decisions for the government and the weigh in on the government’s decisions.
Critics have said that the Board required austerity measures that have been harmful to residents of Puerto Rico, and that they negotiated excessive payments to creditors at the risk of the Island’s economy.
The original bill called for the dissolution of the board after Puerto Rico submitted four balanced budgets in a row.
TRUST would change the requirement to two balanced budgets. It also stipulates that the budgets don’t have to include debt service. The original PROMESA law also required that Puerto Rico would have to have access to credit “at reasonable rates,” and TRUST removes that requirement.
TRUST returns decision-making over financial matters to Puerto Rico’s territorial government.
Governor Pierlusi has expressed frustration that the Board has the ability to micromanage many decisions made by the territorial government.
Puerto Rico has exited bankruptcy, but it has not yet made agreements with all its creditors. The debt has been reduced, but perhaps not to the levels required by the PROMESA guidelines.
TRUST speeds up the process of removing the board and returning the financial oversight to the elected officials of Puerto Rico.
The bill was referred to the Natural Resources Committee of the House.
Governor Pierlusi supports the law.
Florida’s Rep. Charlie Crist, the newest cosponsor, said, “After visiting Puerto Rico and hearing directly from the people, I’m proud to cosponsor this bill to end the unelected PROMESA Board. With Puerto Rico out of bankruptcy, the time has come to return power to the people of Puerto Rico.”
The Board responded with this statement: “The Oversight Board remains committed to its legal mandates of helping Puerto Rico regain access to capital markets and achieve fiscal responsibility. It will continue to comply with PROMESA.”