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 ReidSuicide is not just a veteran problem; it is an American problem The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Bernie campaign 2.0 - he's in it to win it, this time around MORE (Nev.) said in a joint statement with Democratic Sens. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine Cantwell737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington State rules complicate push for federal data privacy law Hillicon Valley: Cohen stuns Washington with testimony | Claims Trump knew Stone spoke to WikiLeaks | Stone, WikiLeaks deny | TikTok gets record fine | Senators take on tech over privacy MORE (Wash.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (N.Y.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (Ill.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Acting Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange William Barr is right man for the times MORE (N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCitizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Patrick Leahy sits at center of partisan judicial nominations MORE (Vt.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTreasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' Senate panel to hear from pharmacy middlemen on drug prices MORE (Ore.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump on 2020 Dems skipping AIPAC: 'I think they're anti-Jewish' The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandCNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary Amy Poehler reveals which Dem candidates her 'Parks and Recreation' character might vote for The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE (N.Y.), and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonEx-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances The Hill's Morning Report - Trump budget reignites border security fight 2020 party politics in Puerto Rico 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."