Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he won't support giving Puerto Rico the right to authorize municipal bankruptcies – warning it's not the "silver bullet" that'll solve the territory's "budget and economic mess."
Writing on the blog platform "Medium,"
ahead of his own – and Hillary Clinton's – separate appearances in San Juan on Friday, the GOP presidential contender writes the island's leaders have to "do the difficult but essential work of cutting spending, reining in out-of-control big government and eliminating job-killing policies, including scores of new tax increases."
"Allowing Puerto Rican municipalities to reorganize their debts under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code would not solve Puerto Rico's problems and should only be a measure of last resort considered if Puerto Rico takes significant steps to fix its budget and economic mess," he writes.
The Spanish version of Rubio's commentary will run in El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's largest daily newspaper, the Washington Post reports.
Rubio's position pits him against both the Democratic presidential frontrunner and GOP rival Jeb Bush
– and may alienate the independent Hispanic voters who could play a big role in the Florida primary, the Post reports.
Democratic Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla
has lobbied Congress to grant access to Chapter 9 that would give the territory help to restructure its debt burden – and Rubio has declined to support a bill that would do that, the Post reports.
"So far, Hillary Clinton's liberal hosts in San Juan today have failed to propose any serious measures to fix Puerto Rico's economic challenges," Rubio writes.
"[B]y turning America away from the Obama agenda that Hillary Clinton would expand, and instead implementing my conservative agenda, we can create favorable conditions for a Puerto Rican renaissance as part of a new American economy in the 21st century."
He also called on the U.S. government to hold a federally-sponsored vote on statehood, which, if approved, would give it representation in Congress and allow voters to cast ballots in presidential elections.
Puerto Rico's voters can currently vote in presidential primaries.
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