March 31, 2019 – San Juan – “Puerto Rico must receive the federal resources necessary to sufficiently complete our recovery and reconstruction in a timely manner, and to assist the more than 3 million U.S. citizens who live on the island and are working each and every day to recover from the storm.
“I urge the U.S. Senate to pass H.R. 268, as already approved in the House, which provides much-needed support to Puerto Rico in addressing critical infrastructure, education, nutritional, and housing needs on the island.
“Puerto Rico’s Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) is in desperate need of support as a result of decades of federal underfunding and lack of parity with other U.S. jurisdictions. The additional $600 million we are requesting would merely allow us to continue to provide this vital lifeline to over a million Americans in Puerto Rico.
“The devastation left behind by Hurricane María has depleted our resources. Currently, we simply do not have the funds to cover cost-share requirements set forth – unilaterally and unnecessarily – by FEMA. What we are requesting is the same treatment other jurisdictions have received from the federal government: For the federal government to cover 100% of the cost-share requirements for emergency work is extremely helpful and will speed up the recovery’s current pace. We reiterate that we are not setting new precedent as this help has been extended to other jurisdictions in the past. We merely request equal treatment.
“The lasting effects of the disaster have greatly affected our capability to offer over 3 million Americans clean water. We are asking for $500 million to continue repairing our damaged water infrastructure so that Americans can enjoy a vital resource.
“Moreover, the Caño Martín Peña, an underserved community in San Juan, is in desperate need of environmental restoration. To put an end to the constant flooding and devastating living conditions endured by its over 23,000 residents, as well as hundreds of thousands in its vicinity, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires $25 million, which H.R. 268 provides.
“As we rebuild our electric grid, we are asking for $15 million in Department of Energy technical assistance so that we can rebuild our electric grid stronger, better and more resilient than before.
“The amendment being considered by the U.S. Senate falls short of addressing the majority of our most pressing needs. While the $600 million it provides for Puerto Rico’s Nutritional Assistance Program is vital to the wellbeing of our citizens, it is imperative that our needs be addressed.
“Once again, we urge the U.S. Senate to vote Yes on H.R. 268.”