U.S. Congress Delayed Work on Puerto Rico Debt Relief Bill, Blaming Obama Administration

By Staff Writer

Apr 14, 2016 05:41 AM EDT

The Puerto Rico debt bill to help the country deal with its debt crisis is yet to be processed further by the U.S. Congress. The panel decided to put the legislation on hold, leading Republicans to cancel its own work session on that matter scheduled on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the chairman of House Natural Resources Committee, Rob Bishop, announced that a markup for a Puerto Rico debt relief bill was delayed indefinitely. According to the announcement, the delay happened because the Obama administration was still negotiating provisions.

The fact that negotiation is still happening created uncertainty in both parties, said Bishop, as reported by The Hill. "This legislation needs bipartisan support, but Members need time to understand the complexity of the issue and the ramifications of any proposed changes," he said in the statement, adding that it would be unfair to all Members to be forced to vote amid such uncertainties.

The delay from the U.S. Congress had prompted Republicans, who control Congress, to cancel a work session on that matter. Previously, the session was planned to be held on Thursday. As for now, it's still not clear when the committee will reschedule another work session. 

According to Reuters, an adviser for the congress said that the sudden delay was decided because there was not enough support to get the legislation approved. Not enough support among panel members means that the bill cannot be sent for debate to the full House of Representative.

The bill to help Puerto Rico in its debt crisis was introduced just a day before planned session with the U.S. Congress. It was unveiled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to help address Puerto Rico's crisis, giving the country certain legal powers that normally only available in bankruptcy, as noted by The New York Times. The bill would impose a new outside control figure to oversee Puerto Rico's finances, as well as giving the island the power to restructure some of its debt.

The aim of the legislation is to help Puerto Rico deal with its $72 billion debt. With the bill, the U.S. Congress is taking responsibility on the debt conundrum that could soon wreak havoc on the American bond market.

The U.S. Congress has decided to postpone the process for the Puerto Rico debt relief bill scheduled to receive final amendments on Thursday. In a statement, it's claimed that the delayed was caused by the Obama administration, which is still negotiating provisions, making it unfair to do votes under many uncertainties. 

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