- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is criticizing Republicans for not helping debt-crippled Puerto Rico.

Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, said Tuesday “it won’t be forgotten” that Republicans in Congress opposed aid to the U.S. territory when passing last week’s catch-all spending bill.

The speaker, who is becoming one of the nation’s most prominent Puerto Rican politicians, singled out U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate, said in a September op-ed that allowing the island to file for bankruptcy “would not solve” Puerto Rico’s problems and that it should only be a “last resort.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told The New York Times this week that Rubio considered signing on to legislation that would allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.

A spokesman for Rubio disputed that claim.

Mark-Viverito said Latino activists would rally Florida’s 1 million Puerto Ricans on the issue in 2016.

House Speaker Paul Ryan ordered lawmakers to have a solution by the end of March.

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