WASHINGTON Dec 15 U.S. lawmakers are
considering helping Puerto Rico with its debt crisis at least
until February, as part of negotiations over a $1.15 trillion
bill to keep the U.S. government funded, Senate Finance
Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said on Tuesday.
"I think we have to address it to get at least through to
next February, and then in the intervening time try to come up
with an approach that will really work with Puerto Rico," Hatch,
a Republican, told reporters outside the Senate.
Democrats want the territory to have the ability to
reorganize its own $72 billion debt load, but Hatch opposes
this. Last week he proposed a bill to cut Puerto Rican workers'
share of the payroll tax and create an oversight authority that
could spend up to $3 billion to help Puerto Rico regain fiscal
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by James Dalgleish)