To: The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

Stop the Coup: No "IMF" Control Board for Puerto Rico

Oppose the "Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act" unless the "IMF" control board provision is removed.

Why is this important?

The House Republican leadership is trying to do to Puerto Rico what the International Monetary Fund is doing to Greece: put the demands of international bondholders ahead of the needs of the majority of working people, and replace democratically elected government with a "control board" that can overrule the democratic government to impose an austerity agenda so international bondholders can be paid more.

Sen. Bernie Sanders called on Senate colleagues to oppose legislation that would establish a control board. Sanders said the House bill, H.R. 5278, “would make a terrible situation even worse” by requiring the governor of Puerto Rico to submit a fiscal plan to an unelected oversight board comprised of seven members, a majority of whom would be chosen by Republican leadership. Puerto Ricans would choose no members. The oversight board would enact its own fiscal plan to cut the budget, slash pensions, raise taxes, privatize and sell public assets without the approval of Puerto Rico’s democratically elected government. The legislation requires that any restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt be “in the best interest of creditors.” H.R. 5278 would also exclude Puerto Rico from the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules and allow the governor of Puerto Rico to slash the minimum wage to just $4.25 an hour for a period of up to five years. [1]

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez [D-IL], one of five Puerto Ricans in Congress, said: “I cannot support this legislation because it runs counter to basic values of democracy, fairness and justice.” He wrote, “The profits and profiteering of investors are likely to be weighed as heavily or more heavily by the Board in its decision-making and that fails my test for what is needed for Puerto Rico.” He also pointed to reductions in the minimum wage, the exemption from overtime rules, questionable protections for pensions earned by Puerto Rican workers, and expedited permitting of energy and construction projects without environmental checks as reasons he opposes the legislation. [2]

The AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, UFCW, USW, and the UAW oppose the bill. In a letter to the House, the unions wrote that the bill “provides no economic stimulus, and in fact takes money out of the economy by reducing the minimum wage and overtime protections" for union members they represent in Puerto Rico. [3]

Urge Congress to oppose the bill unless the "IMF" control board provision is removed by signing our petition.