Christie Calls for 'Tough Love' for Puerto Rico in Fiscal Crisis
Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said Barack Obama’s administration has overlooked Puerto Rico’s debt crisis and that he would be willing to assist in return for more oversight over the island.
Christie, New Jersey’s two-term governor, said he would support some form of assistance for the territory of 3.5 million people if he were president, but cautioned it wouldn’t come without “tough love.” He made his comments during a town-hall meeting in Lebanon, New Hampshire, six days before that state holds the nation’s first primary.
Obama in October pressed Congress to give Puerto Rico bankruptcy powers not now available to American territories in order to reduce its $70 billion debt load. He also proposed a federal oversight board to help balance its budgets and manage borrowing. The president has called for increasing health-care funding for Puerto Rico and extending tax credits to the poor.
“This has been one of the real significant neglects by the Obama administration,” Christie said when asked how he would deal with the island’s fiscal problems. “I would be willing to help the people of Puerto Rico, but in return I would have to have strict control over their budgets going forward.”