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Puerto Rico Governor Calls for Halt on Debt Lawsuits

Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro García Padilla says Congress should put a hold on litigation against the indebted US territory until a proposed Congressional solution to its debt crisis is in place.
As Puerto Rico fails to meet debt payments, the island faces lawsuits from debt holders.‎ Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro García Padilla says Congress should put a hold on litigation against the indebted US territory until a proposed Congressional solution is in place. The Governor made his comments at a press conference as the island wrestles with its growing debt crisis.

"Puerto Rico needs to be able to get back on its feet as soon as possible," noted Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA. LeCompte testified at a Congressional Hearing in February offering solutions to the crisis. "Lawsuits will be an obstacle to recovery and it makes sense for Congress to halt litigation."

House Speaker Paul Ryan set a March 31 deadline for legislative action on the crisis. Representatives of both major parties introduced legislation to allow Puerto Rico access to Chapter 9 of the US bankruptcy code to restructure its debt. A bill by Republican Sean Duffy of Wisconsin also includes a fiscal oversight board. ‎Probable solutions include a fiscal oversight board that has authority to restructure Puerto Rico's debt.

Puerto Rico is cutting services to pay its debt, including funding for health care, law enforcement, special education, electoral services and pensions.

"Lawsuits will only increase the pressure on Puerto Rico and its most vulnerable citizens," stated LeCompte, whose organization placed radio spots on Puerto Rico's crisis ahead of presidential primaries in Florida and Texas. "Congress needs to act quickly and ensure Puerto Rico has the tools it needs so it won't return to Congress for more help a few months down the line."

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 550 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org