Heard on the Hill

'Hamilton' Creator Turns to Advocacy

Lin-Manuel Miranda says he's willing to leverage tickets to smash show for help for Puerto Rico

Manuel and Schumer talk at a press conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

To borrow a line from the hit musical, it might be nice to get Hamilton on your side.  

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway smash "Hamilton " traded the stage for the podium Tuesday, pushing Congress to address the Puerto Rican debt crisis and bring attention to the island territory’s inability to pay off $72 billion of its debt.  

The Broadway star plays founding father Alexander Hamilton on stage, but he took a trip down memory lane in his own foray in politics.  

"His first political experience was knocking on doors for my campaign in ’98," Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters. "And just as we won that race, we’re going to win this fight.”  

Miranda was in D.C. with the cast of his show, performing at the White House on Monday and meeting with students. He also did some freestyle rapping with President Barack Obama for an online video.  

"Lin, if you would now go rap with [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell the way you rapped with the president yesterday, maybe things would happen,” Schumer joked.  

Miranda did meet with a Republican senator Tuesday: Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, whose committee has influence over the response to the Puerto Rican crisis.  

"Good to see my old friend Hamilton today," Hatch tweeted  after the meeting. "I was just a Jr. Senator when I voted to confirm him as Treasury Sec," he quipped.  

Schumer said more than a dozen senators approached him asking for "Hamilton" tickets, which are hard to come by. Miranda joked that he could use the tickets to garner support the bill to allow Puerto Rico to file for bankruptcy protection.  

"If 'Hamilton' tickets will help, I’m happy to do that, too," Miranda said. "I know a guy.”  

He said he was happy to advocate for the island, where both of his parents were born and where he spent many summers, and acknowledged he could help bring attention to the crisis.  

“If [Hamilton's] the reason you’re in this room, that’s fine," Miranda said. "Whatever it takes to get you in the room where it happens.”  

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