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Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 10:02

US's Schumer Tries To Build Support For PR Bankruptcy Bill


--Senior Senate Democrat Seeks Support
--Senate GOP Aide: McConnell Likely To Defer To Committees

WASHINGTON (MNI) - Chuck Schumer, the third ranking Senate Democrat, is trying to build congressional support for legislation that would allow Puerto Rico to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Schumer said in a statement that he's working with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, to generate support for the legislation.

Schumer added that they "are hoping to get Republican cosponsors to make this bill bipartisan."

In the House, Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico's resident commissioner, introduced Chapter 9 legislation for Puerto Rico in February.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also voiced support this week for this kind of legislation.

At a Monday briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest did not foreclose support for Chapter 9 legislation, but did not offer fulsome support.

He said the Congress should "take a look at" such an approach.

A Senate Republican leadership aide told MNI Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will defer to the Senate Banking and Senate Finance committees to examine the issue of Puerto Rico's finances and then draft legislation, rather than rushing a bill directly to the Senate floor.

Puerto Rico's financial woes have been brought to Congress's attention this week when its governor said Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt is "not payable."

--MNI Washington Bureau; tel: +1 202-371-2121; email: jshaw@mni-news.com

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