Puerto Rico lawmakers pass debt restructuring bill

Puerto Rico lawmakers pass debt restructuring bill

The Puerto Rico Legislature passed a bill [text, PDf, in Spanish] Tuesday that would restructure the island’s estimated $9 billion debt. After the Puerto Rico House of Representatives approved the bill on Monday, the Puerto Rico Senate [official websites, in Spanish] approved the following day with the House amendments. The legislation will be presented [Reuters report] to Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla [official profile, in Spanish] to sign. The debt was mostly accrued by the Puerto Rico Electronic Power Authority (PREPA) [corporate website]. The bill cements an agreement made between PREPA and its creditors in which the creditors agreed to reduce repayments by 15 percent.

At the end of 2015, Puerto Rico was $70 billion dollars in debt. The governor anticipated a government default [Bloomberg report] in 2016, which came to fruition [NYT report] on January 4. The territory has been suffering from a massive recession [BBC report] since 2006, nearly a decade before Padilla announced that Puerto Rico was unable to pay its debts. However, PREPA reached a deal [Bloomberg report] to restructure its debt in December. This deal is the first of many restructuring plans to alleviate the government’s debt.