WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - 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 stability. (Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by James Dalgleish)