Senator Lankford Supports Oversight Board for Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) released the following statement on Senate passage of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (S.2328):

“The American territory of Puerto Rico has mismanaged its financial obligations by relying on heavy borrowing instead of making needed reforms. As a result, their government is insolvent and can barely fulfill basic services to its citizens. This bill will force Puerto Rico to restructure its $73 billion debt under the supervision of a strong oversight board, so that we avoid a taxpayer bailout in the future. The oversight board will provide needed accountability and remain in effect until Puerto Rico’s government has produced four consecutive balanced budgets and regains access to credit markets.

“There is a bigger lesson here with the financial state of our territory, Puerto Rico. This is what happens when growing debt and entitlement goes unaddressed. America must get more serious about our massive $19 trillion debt and ballooning entitlement programs now, before the crisis worsens.”

The oversight board, established by this bill, will develop a responsible fiscal plan for Puerto Rico and has the decision-making authority needed to achieve a balanced budget. This restructuring mechanism ensures that any financial losses fall on the creditors that assumed the risk of investing in Puerto Rican debt, rather than on the American people through a taxpayer funded bailout.

The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act:

  • Establishes a Financial Oversight and Management Board (Oversight Board) within the Puerto Rico government pursuant to Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress plenary authority and responsibility over the territories.
  • Establishes an administrative and procedural framework for Puerto Rico’s debt adjustment.
  • Establishes a bipartisan, bicameral, Congressional Task Force to identify solutions and federal barriers to Puerto Rico’s future economic growth.