Obama signs Puerto Rico debt bill

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President Obama on Thursday signed a massive rescue package to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis — just one day before the island must make a $2 billion payment. 

“It’s not going to be in and of itself sufficient to solve all the problems that Puerto Rico faces,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office. “But it is an important first step on the path of creating more stability, better services and better prosperity overall.”

{mosads}Obama quickly signed the measure after the Senate passed it on Wednesday night. 

The bill’s passage marked a rare bipartisan accomplishment for the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress. 

After months of wrangling, leaders in both parties agreed to a measure that establishes a new oversight board to steer Puerto Rico’s finances. At the same time, it blocks potential litigation between the island and its creditors. 

Rank-and-file Republicans wanted the legislation to go further in rolling back regulations on the island they believe hamper job creation and economic growth. But they did win inclusion of a provision that lowers Puerto Rico’s minimum wage for some workers. 

“This bipartisan legislation addresses the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico while protecting American taxpayers from a bailout of the territory,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement Wednesday. 

“The legislation creates an oversight board that will institute the necessary reforms so Puerto Rico can begin to turn its economy around and get on a path to fiscal health.”

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