5:41am PT by Gil Kaufman, Billboard
Watch 'Hamilton' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Rap About Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis on 'Last Week Tonight'
Puerto Rico is in dire straights. With a crushing $70 billion in public debt, poverty rates of 45 percent and more than 150 school closures over the past few years, the island nation needs some serious assistance.
Enter Pulitzer Prize-winning Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the son of Puerto Rican parents, who made a heartfelt, teary plea to Congress last month to work on a solution before a looming May 1 deadline to act. "If I can help in any way, if I can get more eyeballs to this crisis, it's a fixable problem," he said, urging Congress to pass legislation that would allow the U.S. territory to restructure its crushing debt.
Hell, he even offered to give members of Congress tickets to Hamilton!
The good news is that something can be done. John Oliver spent the majority of Last Week Tonight's Sunday night episode explaining the island's problems, the possible solutions and, after all that, coming up with his own fixes for the economic spiral. "The point is, 3.5 million Americans are facing a dire crisis right now, and the clock is ticking," Oliver said. "There are certainly better voices than mine to speak on behalf of Puerto Rico."
And Manuel Miranda delivered, serving up a new political-themed rap about the how America can help bail out its most prominent territory. "Hoping to God John Oliver's comical dissertation resonates with the Congress that got us in this situation," Miranda rapped along to spare, serious piano accompaniment. "Along with suicidal tax incentive declarations, 'Yeah, we'll pay your bonds first, close the hospital, f— the patients/This is an island, 100 miles across/The hurricane is coming and we're running up a loss."
Miranda said the "great debate" about statehood can wait, making it personal, speaking right to House Speaker Paul Ryan and offering a very direct pitch. "Paul Ryan, I'll come sing Hamilton at your house/I'll do-si-do with Pelosi, I'll wear my Hamilton blouse/Your citizens are suffering, stop the bleeding, stop the loss/Help Puerto Rico, it's just 100 miles across!"
Watch the video below.
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.