Roundup: Cate and Gil Discuss This Week’s Puerto Rico News


by Cate Long and Gil Hall

In this week’s round-up show, Cate and Gil discuss and analyze events from Puerto Rico. Topics include:

  • Governor Alejandro García Padilla (PDP – Puerto Rico’s majority party) announced he will not run for a second term. This was widely expected given an extremely low voter approval rating. In addition to struggling to get legislation approved in the Puerto Rico Legislature, García Padilla has had great difficulties gaining support in Washington.
  • Following García Padilla’s announcement, former Secretary of State David Bernier (PDP) announced he will run for governor. Bernier is currently the only declared PDP gubernatorial candidate, but challengers are expected.
  • Former head of the Puerto Rican Senate Thomas Rivera Schatz (PNP) gave clear intentions of challenging Ricardo “Ricky” Roselló and Pedro Pierluisi (current Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner) in June’s primary for the PNP gubernatorial nomination.
  • The rector of the University of Puerto Rico announced a freeze on all non-payroll expenses “in order to be able to guarantee the second December 2015 payroll” at the end of the month.
  • Puerto Rico’s electric utility, PREPA, continues to negotiate with creditors and the monoline bond insurers. The negotiating agreement between the parties was extended until December 22, 2015.
  • United States Congressional action on Puerto Rico
    • United States Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced detailed legislation (S. 2381) that:
      • establishes a federal control board with extensive powers;
      • provides $3 billion in funding for operations;
      • does not include debt restructuring (e.g., Chapter 9);
      • grants the U.S. Treasury specific authority to assist Puerto Rico: 1. with cash management, budgeting and other fiscal processes; 2.  commissions several studies, including a review of Puerto Rico’s three public pension systems’ assets and liabilities.
    • United States Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) introduced a bill (H.R. 4199) in the House that contemplates: a more limited federal control board than Hatch’s bill; extension of Chapter 9 bankruptcy to Puerto Rico;  and no funding.
    • Omnibus spending bill: was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The law authorizes an additional $90 million per year for ten years for Puerto Rico’s hospitals. None of the measures proposed by Puerto Rico’s Democratic supporters in the United States Congress made it into the law signed by Obama.   
  • Bond insurer Assured Guaranty published an unusual open letter to United States Treasury official Antonio Weiss concerning Puerto Rico.

*** contacts:
Cate Long: @cate_long
Gil Hall: @gillamhall 

About Gil Hall

Currently writing book on PR crises. Working title: "Los Pertrechos: the Story of an Economy". Polyglot prone to prolixity in English, German &, Spanish. Based between San Juan and North Carolina. MBA/MHA.