House passes bill that helps ease Puerto Rico's debt crisis

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 09, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a rescue package to help ease Puerto Rico's financial crisis and bring relief to the U.S. territory of 3.5 million Americans.

The vote Thursday was 297 to 127. The measure now heads to the Senate with just three weeks until Puerto Rico has to make a $2 billion debt payment.

The legislation would create a financial control board and allow restructuring of some of Puerto Rico's $70 billion debt.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama backed the legislation.

In a statement hours before the vote, the White House saysfailing to act could result in an "economic and humanitarian crisis."

Ryan says Puerto Ricans are "our fellow Americans" and the bill is the best solution.