This vote was the last hurdle to bailing out Puerto Rico. This bill should worry every voter, as it establishes a fiscal oversight board with near-imperial powers over the island’s finances. Equally as troubling, the bill allows the Oversight Board to restructure the island’s debt without the consent of the creditors. This gives Puerto Rico bankruptcy-like powers that have otherwise been found unconstitutional, and adds up to nothing less than a bailout. The oversight board will be able to implement legally unbounded decisions to force payment cuts upon creditors. Even worse, the bill allows for “transparent” cronyism, because the oversight board receives no funding from Congress, but will be permitted to accept gifts. This presents an opportunity for actors to bribe members of the board for favorable treatment. Ultimately, this bill is a symbolic shift from a fiscal mess on the shoulders of Puerto Rico, to one on taxpayers across the country.” This bill was passed in the Senate on January 29, 2016 in a roll call vote of 68-30.
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