- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is criticizing Congress for not supplying any debt relief for struggling Puerto Rico.

Mark-Viverito, a Democrat who is one of the nation’s leading Puerto Rican elected officials, said Wednesday that it was “very disappointing.”

She said she feared that basic services on the island would be reduced as it battles to pay down its debt.

Mark-Viverito, who was born in Puerto Rico, grew emotional at City Hall when she called it a “humanitarian crisis.”

The unincorporated U.S. territory is struggling to make payments on $72 billion of debt.

The island may default on January 1 if it can’t make a payment of more than $900 million. It only narrowly managed to make a $350 million payment on Dec. 1.

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