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Puerto Rico Officials to Testify on Debt Crisis Before Senate Panel

Puerto Rican officials will appear before a skeptical United States Senate panel on Tuesday to explain why the island may need federal assistance by the end of the year and how lawmakers preoccupied with the federal debt might help without setting an unwelcome precedent.

Officials on the island recently warned that their government would, in effect, run out of cash in November, even though it owes big payments to creditors in December and early January.

Puerto Rico has not issued audited financial statements for the last two years, and some members of the Senate Finance Committee say that before the federal government commits funds to help tide it over its crisis, they need to know more about the federal money the island has already received and how it was used.

“It would be extremely difficult to ask Congress to make important decisions, and appropriately allocate resources, without first understanding what the facts are and what problems need to be fixed,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who is chairman of the finance committee……..

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