Senate Dems: House Puerto Rico bill must be changed
© Greg Nash
Senate Democrats are pushing House lawmakers to make "substantial improvements" to legislation aimed at helping Puerto Rico handle its debt crisis. 
 
"While we appreciate House Republicans’ acknowledgment that Congress must swiftly act to address this crisis, the legislation introduced yesterday falls short in several key areas," Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (Nev.) said in a joint statement with Democratic Sens. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellDon't revive logging in national forests Top Finance Dem offers bill to help those repaying student loans save for retirement Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg meets with senators on privacy MORE (Wash.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (N.Y.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Muslim lawmakers host Ramadan iftar to break fast at Capitol Let's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens MORE (Ill.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezEnding the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean We can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison MORE (N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGraham says Bolton briefed him on Iran, tells Trump to 'stand firm' Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible MORE (Vt.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenMomentum grows to create 'Do Not Track' registry Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats MORE (Ore.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGOP faces new challenge in 2020 abortion fight 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (N.Y.), and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonRepublicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment Rubio says hackers penetrated Florida elections systems MORE (Fla.).
 
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The comments are the latest pushback for the House bill since it was released Tuesday. 
 
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said Wednesday evening that a markup of the bill was being delayed as negotiations continue over language in the legislation.
 
The senators added Wednesday that House lawmakers need to keep working to come up with language that could pass the Senate, where Republicans will need the support of at least six Democrats to get it through the upper chamber.
 
Democrats want to give Puerto Rico access to bankruptcy courts so it can restructure all of its debt. 
 
"We have concerns about whether the debt restructuring process provided for in the bill is workable, and we believe that — despite improvements — the oversight board has excessive powers and an unacceptable appointment structure," they said. 
 
The House legislation would create a new outside board to oversee the island territory's finances and give the territory the ability to restructure some of its debt. 
 
Senate Democrats also raised concerns about "extraneous provisions" including land transfers, a lack of "appropriate" protection for pensions and retirees, and a failure to address Puerto Rico's "healthcare disparity."