SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – As Congress debates how to help Puerto Rico with its $70 billion debt, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is trying to prod lawmakers into action with stories of crumbling infrastructure on the island and a lack of basic services.
On a one-day trip to the U.S. territory Monday, Lew toured a San Juan elementary school struggling with insects and limited electricity and a hospital unable to provide some basic services to infants. He walked through a once-vibrant shopping district now covered in graffiti and drove past shuttered stores and restaurants.
House Republicans are expected to announce new legislation this week to create a control board to help manage the island’s financial obligations and oversee some debt restructuring.
The territory missed a nearly $370 million bond payment May 1.