Fate of Puerto Rico Rests on Bishop’s Shoulders

Bloomberg posts an in-depth interview with (and profile of) Rep. Rob Bishop, who’s been charged with forging a bipartisan plan in Congress to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

Report Billy House and Laura Litvan (see also related Washington Post story):

Before being elected to the U.S. House, Rob Bishop taught American history, government and German in a public high school. Now, the Utah Republican is at center of a swirling debt crisis that is pitting Puerto Rico against hedge funds and sparring groups of bondholders.

 

With Congress about to blow through a Sunday deadline, when the island is likely to default on a $422 million debt payment, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee doesn’t sound thrilled about being the chamber’s point man on the issue.

 

“Now, in hindsight, if I’d never been involved in this, I’d be happy,” Bishop joked this week. At least, it seemed like he was kidding.

 

The fact that he even has the Puerto Rico debt portfolio is something of an accident, partly the product of Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte ceding jurisdiction, with the blessing of party leaders. More typically, Bishop’s panel deals with issues touching on wildlife, energy production, parks and other public lands, and Native Americans, although it does also handle territorial and insular law.

 

But Bishop is winning plaudits from both Republican leaders and House Democrats for being a serious and honest broker in trying to hash out compromise legislation.

 

“I do appreciate that Chairman Bishop and his staff have been willing to work in good faith on a viable solution,” said Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources panel. “The door remains open for us to work with Chairman Bishop to develop a truly bipartisan piece of legislation.”