Warren Joins Colleagues In Calling for Comprehensive Disaster Relief Package
Senators Outline Priorities for Third Disaster Supplemental Bill
Text of the letter available here (PDF)
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today joined Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in calling on the Trump administration to put forward a comprehensive package to provide relief from the onslaught of natural disasters in recent months. The administration has committed to releasing such a package in the coming weeks.
In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Senate Democrats outlined what must be included in a comprehensive package that would allow adequate investment in technology, conservation, and infrastructure that will mitigate further damage in future disasters and make our communities more resilient. "As with past disasters, the request must come in the form of emergency spending-the federal government owes it to the people of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and our Western states to step up, now, when it is most needed," the senators wrote.
In October, the Senate passed a $36.5 billion emergency supplemental that contained $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund, $16 billion for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) debt forgiveness, $1.27 billion for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico, and $576.5 million to combat wildfires.
In September, the Senate passed a $15.25 billion emergency supplemental package that contained $7.4 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund and $450 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program. In addition, the legislation provided $7.4 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The letter was also signed by Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), Kirsten Gilibrand (N.Y.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
In the weeks since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Senator Warren has:
- Joined colleagues in demanding federal agencies expedite power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Joined in leading a group of 7 senators in pushing the Trump administration to increase efforts on Vieques and Culebra, especially securing the Vieques Superfund site.
- Urged the Department of Education to use its discretion to help college students and student loan borrowers displaced or otherwise unable to continue their education in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
- Led a group of senators urging DHS to take steps to ensure the accuracy of the official fatality count in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
- Called for Puerto Rico's debt relief during a Capitol Hill rally in coordination with the #JustRecovery march.
- Participated in a FEMA briefing on the status of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Led a coalition of senators in a letter to President Trump, urging him to step up disaster recovery efforts on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra.
- Held community meetings in Massachusetts to discuss the economic and humanitarian crises on the islands.
- Pressed President Trump to take eight immediate, specific actions in response to the crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Urged HHS to provide additional resources and better coordinate efforts to combat the growing public health crisis on the ground.
- Called on the President to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to more swiftly respond to the disaster.
- Written to Republican leadership requesting that Congress be allowed to promptly take up legislation to provide the necessary aid to the U.S. citizens living on the islands.
- Asked President Trump to waive the local cost-sharing requirement for the hurricane response in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and for the federal government to fully cover recovery expenses.
- Joined Senator Markey in calling for a resolution to the Univision-Verizon retransmission dispute, to hasten the restoration of Spanish-language news programming in the wake of the hurricanes.
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