This week, Puerto Rico faces another critical juncture in its debt crisis, as the House will devote simultaneous hearings to the island’s fiscal situation on Thursday. I will appear alongside a panel of other witnesses at the hearing before the House Financial Services’ Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, while Treasury Counselor Antonio Weiss will be the lone witness to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee.

Puerto Rico’s complex and increasingly severe debt crisis demands federal intervention and, ultimately, a significant debt restructuring. The urgency of this need is not lost on Washington, where there is rare bipartisan consensus in Congress and within the administration that lawmakers must act to offer the island debt relief and put in place policies to foster long-term economic growth.

As noted by Puerto Rico’s government and other observers, this is a task that presents significant challenges. The commonwealth has amassed a spiders’ web of debts from various issuers, each with their own legal guarantees and ranking, which amount to just under $70 billion in total obligations. For an island with an ever-shrinking population of only 3.5 million and an economy mired in a decade-long recession, this is an unsustainable debt load which inevitably must be subject to restructuring.

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