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, who has been leading negotiations.
“We are moving forward — there is a deal,” the Utah Republican said Wednesday afternoon, adding that legislative text of the deal would be released later on Wednesday.
Details of that deal were released by Bishop’s committee Wednesday night, when the bill was introduced.
The agreement represents a breakthrough on an issue that has been stuck in congressional limbo for months. Ryan (R-Wis.) said last year that helping Puerto Rico restructure its multi-billion-dollar debt would be a top priority for the first quarter of 2016. 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.