WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statement regarding the ongoing relief efforts for Puerto Rico after yesterday’s passage of a $36.5 billion disaster relief package in the House.
“The aid package that passed the House yesterday must be the beginning of efforts to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, not the end. While providing immediate assistance to Puerto Rico is the priority, it is cruel to do so in the form of a loan. It is clear that Puerto Rico will not begin to recover economically without major debt relief. Moving forward it is critical to ensure that the Island is not saddled with any more unsustainable debt.”
“The reconstruction of Puerto Rico is an opportunity to reboot the island’s economy. Assistance should be directed toward bolstering basic services such as healthcare, education, electricity and renewable energy. At this critical time, Puerto Rico should receive equal treatment to states with regard to federal budgetary support, both for federal disaster relief assistance and Medicaid funding. There is no excuse to avoid taking simple measures that can help Puerto Rico achieve a sustainable recovery. “
“Given the magnitude of Puerto Rico’s crisis and President Trump’s inept and inadequate response, it is nothing short of shameful for our nation’s commander-in-chief to threaten to withdraw federal relief workers from the island. With recovery efforts slow-moving and subpar, President Trump should direct federal agencies to redouble their efforts to ensure that every island resident has access to basic services.”
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus urges fairness and equity for the people of Puerto Rico as they face an unprecedented crisis and needlessly cope with shortages of food, medicine, clean water, and electricity—three weeks after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.“
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.