Obama's plan to save Puerto Rico falls flat in Senate

A key Republican senator is leaning against establishing a federal financial control board to oversee Puerto Rico's troubled finances.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters the U.S. territory may be better able to independently resolve its debt crisis rather than rely on legislation that would establish federal oversight.

"We are not moving very fast on it," Hatch said when asked about his panel's consideration of the plan recommended last month by President Obama to help the island cope with a $72 billion debt.

"Frankly, I'm not sure what we should do with it," Hatch said of the plan. "There are some people who argue they can work it out if they are willing to. That it can work itself out."

Some members of Congress also want the federal government to help Puerto Rico escape its debt, which has grown thanks to a shrinking tax base, a 12 percent unemployment rate, and higher levels of spending. The Puerto Rican government announced this week it could default on its debt or be forced to reduce government services by the end of the year because of a funding shortage.

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