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'Hamilton' creator lobbies Congress for Puerto Rico debt aid

Cites the real Alexander Hamilton in his plea

(CNN) —  

The composer and star of “Hamilton,” one of Broadway’s most popular musicals, is ramping up his call for Congress to provide relief to debt-ridden Puerto Rico.

In a New York Times op-ed published Monday, Lin-Manuel Miranda asked that the commonwealth, home to more than 3.5 million people, be afforded the same options as a U.S. city or state.

“If Puerto Rico were an American city, it could declare bankruptcy, as Detroit did in 2013,” Miranda wrote. “If it were a state, the federal government would surely have already declared emergency measures to help the most vulnerable. But since it is a territory of the United States, there is no system in place to handle the financial and humanitarian crisis that is happening right now.”

Both Democrats and Republicans, from House Speaker Paul Ryan to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have expressed support for action that would offer the island, where Miranda’s parents were born, a lifeline. But with more than $70 billion in debt obligations and economic misery mounting, the process appears stalled.

In his Times piece, Miranda quotes from the real Alexander Hamilton’s famous plea, delivered in a letter from his home in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands amid hurricane devastation nearly 250 years ago, when he asked, “O ye, who revel in affluence, see the afflictions of humanity and bestow your superfluity to ease them.”

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Earlier this month, the playwright went to Washington to stand with Senate Democrats pushing a bill that would allow the commonwealth to declare bankruptcy.

“What we need is the ability to restructure and get Puerto Rico out of the hole it’s in,” said Miranda, joining Warren and N.Y. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand at a news conference. “So I’m urging Congress. If Hamilton tickets will help, I’m happy to do that too.”