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With debt payment looming, House weighs Puerto Rico bill

WASHINGTON – With a $2 billion debt payment looming, House leaders and President Barack Obama are pressuring lawmakers in both parties to support legislation to help ease Puerto Rico’s financial crisis.

The House is scheduled to begin debate Thursday on a bill that would create a financial control board and restructure some of the U.S. territory’s $70 billion debt. House Republican and Democratic leaders support it, as does the Obama administration. But it faces opposition from some bondholders, unions and island officials who have lobbied against the bill.

Speaker Paul Ryan has argued the legislation is the only way to avoid an eventual taxpayer bailout for the island.

Obama is also pushing for the bill, summoning House Democrats with ties to Puerto Rico to a meeting in the Oval Office Wednesday.