© Reuters. Members of labor unions march past the capitol throughout a protest in San Juan
By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Legislation assisting Puerto Rico dig out of its $70 billion debt crisis is set for a vote in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday after a Home panel warded off efforts to open the costs to a series of controversial amendments. By voice vote on Wednesday, the Rules Committee, the gatekeeper for costs moving through the House, sent the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) to the full Home for dispute and a likely vote on Thursday. The legislation, the result of months of negotiations between Congress and the Obama administration, would create a federal oversight board to deal with investors to determine just how much they would recuperate of the island area’s $70 billion in loans. Republican politicians have actually stressed that no taxpayer cash would be utilized to bail out Puerto Rico from a crisis that has left nearly half of the population in poverty amidst closings of schools and hospitals and a contracting economy. During a Rules panel dispute that stretched into the night, the committee declined pleas to allow modifications that would have altered the basic structure of the legislation and the operation of the oversight board. If the bill passes your home, action would move to the Senate, where some leading Democrats have said they would look for considerable modifications. Earlier on Wednesday, Home Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, who ushered the costs through his committee on May 25, informed press reporters he expected the full House to pass it on Thursday. Bishop, a Utah Republican politician, stated a strong elect passage in your house would help propel it through the Senate. “The bottom line is the better the vote here (in your home), the less likely it’s going to come back in a substantially altered type” from the Senate, Bishop said. Advocates want to get it enacted into law before July 1, when Puerto Rico deals with a due date for making a $1.9 billion financial obligation payment that it might not have the ability to satisfy. Your house Rules Committee voted to permit debate on a minimal number of modifications, including one giving priority to protecting federal taxpayer financial investments in Puerto Rico, such as mass transport assets. Another amendment expected to be debated would broaden a federal program targeted at encouraging financial advancement in Puerto Rico’s “under-utilized” company zones. Representative Raul Grijalva, a senior Democrat who dealt with the bill, stated Puerto Rico’s financial obligation crisis, if unaddressed, might grow into a humanitarian crisis. Stabilization measures contained in the bill, he said, “would be the initial step toward getting the situation under control.” But his fellow Democrat, Puerto Rican-born Representative Luis Gutierrez, warned, “I don’t believe a number of my coworkers in this body value just how deeply offending the costs prior to us is regarded in Puerto Rico.” He was particularly concerned with the way control panel members would be chosen, with a lot of not having to have any ties to the island. But Gutierrez failed to convince the committee to enable changes to be offered making modifications to the board and its operations.