With a May 1 deadline, time is running out to help Puerto Rico restructure its crushing $70 billion debt. And as John Oliver pointed out on HBO's "Last Week Tonight," the island can't even declare bankruptcy because it's forbidden under a little-known provision snuck into a 1984 law that no one seems able to explain.
Puerto Rico is even required under law to pay off certain bondholders ahead of anything else, including basic government service.
"Which is pretty fucked up," Oliver said. "The U.S. owes $1.2 trillion to China, but if you called 911, you would not expect them to say 'Oh, I'm sorry, we chose to send our fire truck money to Beijing. Have you tried blowing on the fire really hard?'"
As Congress debated allowing Puerto Rico to restructure some of that debt, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose parents are from the island, lobbied for the bill.
"It's so fucking good," Oliver said of Miranda's hit Broadway show. "It's so good, we owe Puerto Rico for that man."
Oliver even brought Miranda on the show to do a 'Hamilton'-esque rap pleading for help.
“Paul Ryan, I’ll come sing 'Hamilton' at your house. I’ll do-si-do with Pelosi, I’ll wear my 'Hamilton' blouse," Miranda sang. "Your citizens are suffering, stop the bleeding, stop the loss. Help Puerto Rico, it's just 100 miles across."
Check it out in the clip above.