Speaker Paul Ryan has reached a tentative deal with the Treasury Department on a rescue package to ease Puerto Rico's debt crisis, according to House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), who has been leading negotiations. The agreement represents a breakthrough on an issue that has been stuck in congressional limbo for months. But conservatives balked at Bishop’s initial proposal, following a series of ads that labeled the measure a “bailout.” Democrats also refused to support that earlier deal because of a minimum wage decrease included in the measure. Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have pushed back on the bailout label, and the bill expressly prohibits federal taxpayer funds from paying down Puerto Rico’s debt.
However, Senator Sanders (I-VT) over the weekend has started pushing Democrats to reject the Puerto Rico debt deal. In a letter he sent to Senate colleagues he disagrees with the agreement arguing that the deal favors Wall Street creditors at the expense of Puerto Rico. In particular, Sanders takes issue with a new oversight board created under the legislation to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances because the majority of the seven-member panel would be controlled by Republicans with little input from Puerto Rico citizens.