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Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico Requires Urgent Congress Response

© AP Photo / Ricardo ArduengoIn this May 4, 2012 photo, the flags of Puerto Rico and the U.S. wave behind an English one-way traffic sign in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, one of only a few places in Puerto Rico with street signs in English
In this May 4, 2012 photo, the flags of Puerto Rico and the U.S. wave behind an English one-way traffic sign in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, one of only a few places in Puerto Rico with street signs in English - Sputnik International
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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the situation with debt in Puerto Rico requires an urgent response.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Congress should take prompt steps to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, as the territory defaults on its debt, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing on Monday.

"I do not think there are any good options for the Puerto Rican government at this point," Earnest stated. "This situation requires an urgent response, and Republicans in Congress have been dragging their feet for too long."

On Monday, Puerto Rico officially defaulted on its debt payments to creditors, standing at $422 million.

Puerto Rico - Sputnik International
Puerto Rico to Default on Debt Repayment due Monday - Governor
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced the decision not to make any payments owed on Sunday, stressing essential services for the residents should come first.

The Obama administration has warned of a potential humanitarian crisis if Puerto Rico defaults on its loans. The poverty rate on the island is already three times higher than in the mainland United States and public services will likely be cut if the crisis is not resolved.

At present, Puerto Rico’s debt amounts to $72 billion.

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