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Tue Jun 14, 2016, 03:48 PM

McConnell: Senate to Consider Puerto Rico Aid by End of June

Source: Associated Press

McConnell: Senate to Consider Puerto Rico Aid by End of June


Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate will consider a rescue package to ease Puerto Rico's financial crisis before the U.S. territory's $2 billion payment to creditors is due July 1.

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation to create a new control board and restructure some of Puerto Rico's $70 billion debt last week. The Senate is expected to take up the same bill "sometime before the end of the month," McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday.

Puerto Rico has already missed several payments to creditors while a lengthy recession has crippled commerce, sparked unemployment and driven hundreds of thousands of people to the U.S. mainland. In a rare display of political unity, the House bill had the support of President Barack Obama, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who see it as the best hope for the island's 3.5 million Americans.

Some senators have opposed the legislation, though, and that opposition could slow passage. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has spoken out strongly against the House bill, saying the control board would take away the rights of ordinary Puerto Ricans and has colonialist overtones. He said he is hoping to try and amend the House bill when the Senate debates it.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the rescue package would "make a terrible situation even worse." He has introduced his own bill to help the territory.

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Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/mcconnell-senate-puerto-rico-rescue-package-39853922

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