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The White House is sending out mixed signals on how it wants to handle Puerto Rico's $74 billion in municipal debt, which has become an even more pressing issue in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. And the confusion pushed Puerto Rico benchmark bond prices even lower.

Expand chart
Data: S&P Dow Jones Indices; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios
  • President Trump on Tuesday to Fox News: "You know, they owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out. You can say goodbye to that."
  • White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday to Bloomberg: "We are not going to pay off those debts. We are not going to bail out those bondholders."

Why it matters: Puerto Rico officials have said the government could shut down at the end of October if Congress doesn't provide billions of dollars in emergency funding. But the long-term recovery needs would be much different were Puerto Rico's debt to be wiped out, as Trump initially suggested.

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.