Monday may be a national holiday, but Bernie Sanders wasn’t taking the day off from critiquing his Democratic presidential opponent, slamming Hillary Clinton for her position on how to to deal with the huge financial crisis enveloping Puerto Rico.
“As has happened many times before, Secretary Clinton has changed her mind and is inching closer to positions I have taken,” Sanders said in a statement. “But what she says only days before Election Day in Puerto Rico is too little, too late.”
Puerto Rico holds their presidential primary election on June 5.
The White House and the House reached a deal earlier this month to aid Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that has amassed $70 billion in debt and has been languishing in recession for nearly a decade. The legislation would institute a seven-member fiscal oversight board, the majority of whom would be selected by Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Puerto Ricans would have no say in the board. That board would be able to institute more cuts, supersede local laws, lower the island’s minimum wage, and as a last resort institute a court-approved debt restructuring, as long as it is “in the best interest of creditors.”
Clinton has said that while has “serious concerns” about part of the proposal, she has advocated for it to passed by Congress. Clinton has changed her tune slightly on the legislation, now saying that she believes that Puerto Ricans should “have a voice in any oversight board.”
“I am glad she is taking a new look at the control board but this is too little, too late,” Sanders said Monday.
The Vermont senator opposes the legislation, and says he will soon introduce his own proposal that would Puerto Rico’s debt to be restructured in a way that protects pensions and ordinary investors. He says his bill “will make it clear” that the Federal Reserve has the authority to facilitate an orderly restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt. It also would provide emergency assistance to Puerto Rico to create jobs, reduce the poverty rate and end the territory’s reliance on dirty fossil fuels.