September 26, 2017

Warren Joins Colleagues in Calling for Immediate Congressional Help for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Senators Urge McConnell and Ryan to Take Up Legislation Increasing FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund in Response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and eight of their colleagues in writing to Republican leadership, requesting that Congress be allowed to swiftly take up legislation that provides the necessary help to the U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) also signed the letter.

Citing in their letter the growing extent of the devastation, the senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan to request that Congress immediately take up a supplemental appropriations bill to ensure a sufficient increase in FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund and funding for Community Development Block Grants for disaster recovery along with other disaster relief accounts to respond to this catastrophe.

"These storms have been some of the most powerful hurricanes in recorded history to affect the region, leaving thousands of families homeless, causing catastrophic damage to critical infrastructure, and leaving much of their population without power for an indefinite period of time," wrote the senators. "As members of Congress, we have an obligation to ensure all citizens of the United States affected by natural disasters have sufficient resources to recover. Congress can and should come together to help our fellow Americans recover just like it has in past disasters.  Without this crucial funding, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands' schools, businesses, and critical infrastructure will be left vulnerable to further deterioration, only prolonging an already challenging road to recovery and adding to human suffering."

As thousands of displaced people find themselves homeless, the senators' request for an appropriations bill would help these American citizens rebuild and provide them the resources needed to restore the islands back to normality. Senator Warren previously joined her colleagues to call on 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, noting the challenging financial situation and extensive damage in both jurisdictions in calling for the waiver.

Full text of the letter is available here