Congressman Darren Soto is voicing approval over a decision made by the Governor of Puerto Rico on Wednesday to move forward with a bankruptcy-like measure that will allow the island to restructure it’s 70 billion dollars in debt. The terms were filed by the financial oversight board established by the PROMESA act passed last year.
“I am glad to see that the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, has moved forward to protect the interests of the 3.5 million American citizens living on the Island by seeking relief under Title III of PROMESA,” said Soto.
It is estimated that about 45% of Puerto Ricans on the island live in poverty. In addition to high unemployment, there has also been a break down in infrastructure and utilities often leaving citizens without water or electricity for days at a time. There has also been difficulty finding medical care on some parts of the island, which has forced seniors to hunt for badly needed prescription medications.
Because of it’s standing as a United States Territory, Puerto Rico cannot request a traditional bankruptcy. The measure is expected to be challeged by current bond holders, in what is being considered early on, the biggest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the country. Rosello has said the island will continue to make approximately 20% of it debt payments moving forward.
Soto’s 9th District includes the largest Puerto Rican population in Central Florida, many of them who have moved to the area to find work and many more who still have family on the island.
“This is a step in the right direction. We have a financial crisis that is suffocating the people – working class families, students, everyone.” added Soto “The Island is losing a doctor everyday while fighting Zika, and facing a 12.4 percent unemployment rate, school closings and other merciless austerity measures. And this will get worse if we don’t act. I will support all actions Congress can take to guarantee fair treatment for the people of Puerto Rico, and give them the tools to build a better future.”