Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchGOP lawmakers ask IRS to explain M wasted on unusable email system GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Schumer says Pacific trade pact may have enough votes to pass the Senate MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday blocked a Democratic push to pass a Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill.
GOP blocks Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerImmigration was barely covered in the debates GOP leaders advise members to proceed with caution on Trump Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military MORE (D-N.Y.) had sought unanimous consent to pass his legislation, which would give the U.S. territory access to bankruptcy courts allowing it to restructure its debt.
Schumer, who stressed that his proposal isn't a "bailout," warned that the island's financial crisis will worsen without action from Congress.
"If we fail to offer Puerto Rico assistance now, the problem will not be contained to the island," he said. "We have the tools to fix the problem. They're sitting in the toolbox. The problem is Puerto Rico isn't allowed to use them."
But Hatch suggested that lawmakers were concerned that Schumer's legislation, which he introduced with Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Healthcare: Biden hints at new money for cancer research | Trump details opioid plan | Dem urges feds to reject EpiPen settlement Dem calls on DOJ to reject EpiPen settlement Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (D-Conn.), wasn't an efficient way to tackle the territory's crippling debt.
"I don't know of anyone in this chamber who is indifferent to the issues facing our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico," he said. "I agree with the senior senator from New York that Congress must act to address these problems."
Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said lawmakers would introduce alternative legislation as early as Wednesday.
Despite Hatch's objection, Democrats suggested they were grateful that the Utah Republican was willing to work on legislation to address Puerto Rico's debt crisis.
But Sen. Bob MenendezRobert MenendezWarren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal Dem senator: Louisiana Republican 'found Jesus' on flood funding MORE (D-N.J.) said he was "disappointed" that bankruptcy legislation "to help Puerto Rico address its challenges in an orderly and legal way seems to be in a vortex in which we can't get it out."