Treasury Secretary Jack Lew: Puerto Rico crisis is ‘immediate and real’

la-1462314014-snap-photoTreasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew strived to light a fire under congressional leaders Tuesday by calling the fiscal crisis confronting Puerto Rico “immediate and real,” with dire consequences for the island commonwealth’s 3.5 million citizens as well as investment markets nationwide.

Puerto Rico defaulted Monday on most of a debt payment of roughly $400 million; another $1.3 billion in bond payments are due July 1, and the island’s administration has made clear that it can’t meet the obligation. The island has been shut out of the debt markets, while creditors await action on legislation that would restructure its debt under the supervision of an independent oversight board.

Hospitals continue to lay off workers, ration medication, reduce services and close floors. … Despite the intensifying threat from the Zika virus, financial constraints have made it extremely difficult to counteract.

— Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew warns congressional leaders about the situation in Puerto Rico

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