POLITICS

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Urges Congress To Act On Puerto Rico

"There needs to be a restructuring so Puerto Rico's financial affairs can be put on a sustainable course."

SAN JUAN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday said that while the Obama administration was ready to do all it could to help debt-ridden Puerto Rico, only Congress could deliver truly effective change.

Lew, speaking in San Juan where he met with the island's governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, last week urged Congress to urgently pass legislation by the end of March to help the island, struggling with $70 billion debt.

"We will leave no stone unturned in looking for things we can do both administratively and using our convening authority to... help solve these problems," Lew said. "But using all the tools we have still won't be as effective as Congressional action. That's why the time for Congress to act is now."

Lew said there is "no federal bailout" for Puerto Rico.

"Restructuring is an alternative to a bailout. There needs to be a restructuring so Puerto Rico's financial affairs can be put on a sustainable course." (Reporting by Nick Brown, writing by Megan Davies; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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