Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The US Congress proposes a Fiscal Control Board to help solve Puerto Rico's Economic Crisis.

The people of Puerto Rico support a Control board. We are totally aware of the fiscal mismanagement and rampant corruption existing in Puerto Rico, which has created this situation.

Those who are to blame for this economic crisis have the power and money to influence and lobby Washington so as to continue controlling and deciding how the money is spent in our economy. They have controlled the government;s spending and now want to make sure they control the board.

Without a truly independent Board, the PR governing elite class will make sure that the money PR receives from any US bailout will reach the same destination that brought about our economic crisis.

Treasury Sec. Warns Inaction on Puerto Rico Could Cost Taxpayers
by BRIAN LATIMER\May 3, 2016

U.S. Treasury Sec. Jack Lew wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and warned that a taxpayer bailout for Puerto Rico will end up being the only option if Congress cannot pass legislation allowing Puerto Rico to restructure its debt before July 1.Lew last wrote a letter in January to press Ryan and Congress to pass legislation allowing the island to restructure its $72 billion debt. Now that Puerto Rico has missed the critical May 1 payment deadline, Lew wrote Monday that "a series cascading defaults" could, and would, intensify.

"Going forward, Puerto Rico's $70 billion of debt is unsustainable by any measure," Lew writes. "It simply cannot afford to pay its debt. And, with a shrinking economy because of people leaving Puerto Rico, further reductions in government spending will be difficult to implement." Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla announced the island would not be able to pay the full $400 million debt payment that was due Monday. 

While the Puerto Rican government attempts to finance the first loans, the island is bracing for the looming $2 billion payment due July 1. A recent bill proposed by House Republicans has stalled and Congress went on recess without a vote on Puerto Rico. Lew warns that a taxpayer bailout may be the only option for Congress if legislation lags on the House floor.

"The people of Puerto Rico will be forced to endure additional suffering," Lew writes. "And, unless Congress passes legislation that includes appropriate restructuring and oversight tools, a taxpayer-funded bailout may become the only legislative course available to address an escalating crisis."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Obama Administration Seems to be Playing 2016 Politics With The US Citizens of Puerto Rico


Ryan fights to win GOP majority on Puerto Rico
By Peter Schroeder - 04/27/16

The new Speaker is pressing his conference to back legislation providing debt relief for Puerto Rico, but it’s not clear the Wisconsin Republican can muster a majority of his members. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sidestepped a question Tuesday on whether a bill would come to the floor only if a majority of Republicans back it.

“The one thing the Speaker always wants to make sure is that he protects the taxpayers and that we don’t have a bailout here,” he said on Tuesday. Conservatives are grumbling about helping the territory rework a massive debt burden built over decades, while rank-and-file members were spooked by outside ads lambasting the package as a “bailout” for the island.

The Center for Individual Freedom is behind the ads and not required to disclose its donors. But many believe hedge funds that stand to gain from not passing the bill are involved in the ads, which are regularly seen during cable news broadcasts in Washington, D.C.

To build support for legislation, Ryan has publicly and repeatedly shot down the claim that there will be a bailout for Puerto Rico. No taxpayer dollars would go to Puerto Rico under current legislation, he has noted. He has also insisted a final measure will win bipartisan support, signaling a willingness to work with his own conference and Democrats to write the bill.

But as deadlines for action slip with no bill materializing, exactly how the Speaker and his leadership team design a measure that calms GOP nerves without driving away Democrats is becoming a major question. Ryan assured conservatives last year that for immigration bills, he would respect the House GOP’s informal “Hastert” rule to only bring legislation to the floor that has support from a majority of the conference, according to a leadership aide. The pledge helped Ryan win support from the conservative House Freedom Caucus for his Speakership.

John Boehner (R-Ohio), Ryan’s predecessor as Speaker, was weakened when he brought legislation to fund the government or lift the debt ceiling to the floor that needed many Democratic votes to win passage. Bringing a Puerto Rico bill to the floor without a majority of Republicans could be dangerous for Ryan. Ryan has been mum on whether the Hastert Rule — named for former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) — for is part of the equation this time around.

He is pursuing majorities in both parties on the Puerto Rico legislation, and has repeatedly emphasized a need for bipartisanship, the leadership aide said. The aide noted that Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have agreed on the need to address the matter since December, even if they differ on the details. GOP leaders never expected to be able to win over all of their colleagues on the issue, the aide said, and are focused primarily on winning as many votes in both parties as possible.

But close watchers of the Puerto Rico bill believe most of the work by Ryan’s team at this point remains on convincing Republicans to support the legislation. Some think the effort to move legislation could actually be helped if Puerto Rico defaults on May 1 on about $422 million in debt payments, since this could grab lawmaker attention and loosen up support.

“The Natural Resources Committee faces an unprecedented challenge having to reconcile the desires of its members, the Treasury Department, and various creditors and insurers,” said Judd Gregg, the former GOP senator and current Hill columnist who is now advising some Puerto Rico bondholders. “Puerto Rico’s looming default, however, should accelerate political compromises and begin muting the outsize influence of obstructionist junior bondholders.”

There are few signs the bill will soon gain momentum.

McCarthy told reporters he did not see how Congress could pass anything before a May 1 default. In fact, he cast doubt on legislation becoming law before July 1, Puerto Rico’s deadline for a $2 billion payment. “I’m hopeful we’d have it out of the House by then,” said McCarthy.

Outwardly, Ryan and other GOP leaders downplay any issues. In a Tuesday interview with “CBS This Morning,” Ryan said the committee was working through “technical aspects.” McCarthy argued that the reason for delay on legislation is the fault of the Treasury Department, which the GOP says has not signed off on a final measure, making it impossible for Democrats to get on board

The White House strongly pushed back against that claim Tuesday, with White House press secretary Josh Earnest insisting the administration has led on this issue. He argued Republicans were just looking for a scapegoat. “If he feels the need to come out and criticize the Obama administration, even if it’s false, because he’s feeling some political pressure to act, that might be evidence of potential movement in the future, and we certainly would like to see it,” said Earnest of McCarthy.

Despite those protests, Treasury does have concerns with the House measure.

Secretary Jack Lew told Univision in a recent interview that the current bill does not completely work, particularly because of provisions allowing Puerto Rico to restructure its debt. Further complicating Ryan’s work is a new push from the left to rework the bill. That effort is led by the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, which want the legislation to protect pensions and worker rights.

“What we’re seeing here in Washington is extremely disheartening,” said Heather Slavkin Corzo, head of the AFL-CIO’s investment office. “Congress must pass legislation that protects the interests of the people of Puerto Rico.” Several of the labor coalition’s demands run directly counter to those sought by conservatives.

For example, conservatives have pushed to allow Puerto Rico to pay some workers a lower minimum wage as a means of boosting its economy, while the unions argued specifically against that. Meanwhile, the ball is clearly in Ryan’s court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday the Senate would “let” the House go first on any Puerto Rico bill.

Scott Wong contributed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Many, including in some in Puerto Rico, are trembling about the moment this information becomes public !

ICIJ to Release Panama Papers Offshore Companies Data

By Marina Walker Guevara
Apr 26, 2016

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists will release on May 9 a searchable database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation.
The database will likely be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them.
The data comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the top players in the offshore world, and includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States. It links to people in more than 200 countries and territories. When the data is released, users will be able to search through the data and visualize the networks around thousands of offshore entities, including, when possible, Mossack Fonseca’s internal records of the company’s true owners. The interactive database will also include information about more than 100,000 additional companies that were part of the 2013 ICIJ Offshore Leaks investigation.
While the database opens up a world that has never been revealed on such a massive scale, the application will not be a “data dump” of the original documents – it will be a careful release of basic corporate information .
ICIJ won’t release personal data en masse; the database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers. The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest.
Meanwhile ICIJ, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which received the leak, and other global media partners, including several new outlets in countries where ICIJ has not been able to report, will continue to investigate and publish stories in the weeks and months to come.
The Panama Papers investigation revealed the secret offshore dealings of world leaders and other politicians as well as criminals and celebrities. It exposed the role of big banks in facilitating secrecy and tax evasion and avoidance. And it showed how companies and individuals blacklisted in the U.S. and elsewhere for their links to terrorism, drug trafficking and other crimes were able to do business through offshore jurisdictions.
Since its release, the Panama Papers investigation has led to high profile resignations, including the prime minister of Iceland; triggered official inquiries in multiple countries; and put pressure on world leaders and other politicians, such as Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, to explain their connections to offshore companies. It sparked a new sense of urgency among lawmakers and regulators to close loopholes and make information about the owners of shell companies public.
In the U.S., where several states act as tax havens for people from all over the world, President Barack Obama commented on the Panama Papers revelations and said global tax avoidance facilitated by secrecy jurisdictions is “a huge problem.” The president added that “a lot of it is legal, but that’s exactly the problem. It’s not that they’re breaking the laws, it’s that the laws are so poorly designed.”