Governor of Puerto Rico. Pedro PierluisiPedro Rafael PierluisiPuerto Rico lifts pandemic curfew, bans alcohol sales Puerto Rico limits alcohol sales, rallies as coronavirus cases rise Puerto Rico orders businesses to require proof of vaccination MORE (D) on Tuesday signed a bill to halve the territory’s debt, but critics fear it will translate into tough austerity measures.
The law allows Puerto Rico to reduce its debt by more than $ 30 billion, issue $ 10 billion in new debt, and give around $ 7 billion in cash to individuals with bonds who have not. been awarded for nearly five years, according to NBC News.
The Puerto Rican Senate narrowly passed the bill by a 14-13 vote, followed by a 34-12 vote in the House, NBC reported.
The fate of the law, however, remains uncertain as the island’s federal financial control board is not behind, the network reported.
“Despite great obstacles, today we have taken a big step forward to end the bankruptcy and leave the tax audit board,” Pierluisi reportedly said in a statement.
NBC reported that the law seeks to end an operation that began in 2015 after Puerto Rico announced it was unable to pay off the more than $ 70 billion in public debt that had accumulated. over years of excessive borrowing, mismanagement and corruption.
The government finally filed for bankruptcy in May 2017, the largest municipal bankruptcy ever in the United States
One of the main points of contention between Pierluisi and the oversight board over the law is a proposal to eliminate some public pensions, according to NBC News. The supervisory board sought to cut pensions above $ 1,500 a month by 8.5% – which would impact around 40,000 retirees – but the government would not accept legislation proposing cuts to public pensions.
Some lawmakers have also reportedly argued for the absence of cuts at the University of Puerto Rico, which is the island’s largest public college.
“That is why we do not give up our struggles to defend the pensions of our retirees, to provide the funds our university needs and to ensure that our municipalities can serve their people,” Pierluisi said in a statement after signing The law project. , according to NBC.
The supervisory board reportedly issued a statement on Wednesday saying it would review the bill, but the group had previously said it would oppose the measure.