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Paul Ryan Deserves Credit For Leadership On Puerto Rico

May 2, 2016

I like when those elected to congress–regardless of party–strive to govern and find a path forward on the issues of the day.  House Speaker Paul Ryan is demonstrating what it takes to tackle a tough problem and do so even when confronting members of his own party.  That earns him points from the rank-and-file citizen who truly wants their government to function.

This weekend Puerto Rico announced they would not–or more correctly–could not pay creditors an installment that was due and therefore the territory went into partial default.

As the fiscal storm clouds gathered over the past months Speaker of the House Ryan, who is perhaps one of the most cerebral in congress, and more earnest than most Republicans in desiring workable outcomes, made a bold effort to solve the debt crisis.

How Ryan might navigate a package in the house is the question that has no easy answers.  The political calculations run in varying directions.   The troubling antics of those conservatives who seek only to stop government from functioning alerted Ryan they have no intention of allowing his idea to pass with ease.  If Ryan were to turn for his majority vote to the Democrats it would speak volumes about his higher goal of proving government can function, but at the same time saddle him with a long-term political problem.

One of the dilemmas  that Ryan faces is the lack of ability for the media or other politicians to raise the Puerto Rican matter high enough or sustain the kind of coverage that would force congress to act.  While Donald Trump blusters over a needless wall, and Hillary Clinton tries to swat away a political  rival one of the pressing matters in our hemisphere gets no coverage or attention from the ones who wish to sit in the Oval Office.

But Ryan knows that if this matter is not dealt with now the stakes only get higher and far more costly.  His reasoning is solid and his interest in this matter is most sincere, in my estimation.

Ryan understands there is more at play than the $70 billion in debt repayments.  The endless number of creditors who are likely to sue not only the government but also one another is the next troubling outcome.  There will be a feeding frenzy on the island for what all agree is a limited amount of revenue.    Such a scenario only makes for a deeper crisis.

His plan would create a federal oversight board with the power to approve or reject local budgets, and to help implement court-supervised debt restructuring plans.  For the right-wing there is the promise that no taxpayer funds would be used.

I have repeatedly grinded on congress for not having the ability and backbone to make the decisions that are required to tackle the headlines of the day.  So when Ryan, not someone who I align with politically very often, makes a determined effort to resolve an issue requiring our attention there is nothing to do  but applaud and wish him well.

I am hoping for a Jimmy Stewart type moment when our mid-western House Speaker makes it clear that governing is more important than partisanship and allows a working majority–regardless of which party provides the muscle—so to allow passage of his bill.

Ryan wants congress to work at solving this issue, and we should call our congressional member and urge their support.  Lets get it done.

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