Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano Leads Letter Condemning Most Recent Efforts by Trump Administration to Undermine Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

Jan 24, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman José E. Serrano led a letter with 55 Democratic colleagues to condemn President Trump’s constant attacks and undermining of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria. The joint effort comes two weeks after it became public that President Trump was considering diverting U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding appropriated by Congress for disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico in order to build the wall along the Southern border.  More recent news reports revealed President Trump’s efforts to prevent disaster relief funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from being distributed to the government of Puerto Rico. The latest action from the Trump Administration to undermine recovery in Puerto Rico was its blatant and unreasonable objections to the inclusion of $600 million in funding for the Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) in Puerto Rico and to the waiver of FEMA Categories A and B local cost share requirements in the Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) for the Emergency Supplemental (H.R. 268).

“[The] pattern of continued pattern of ignorance and insults must end.  Puerto Rico’s recovery is ongoing, and the needs of the American citizens living on the island remain high.  Damage estimates continue to dwarf the size of federal assistance, and threatening to take away what Congress has already appropriated is both counterproductive and harmful.  The Governor of Puerto Rico asked for exactly the type of assistance provided in H.R. 268.  NAP funding in Puerto Rico is scheduled to run out in March 2019, leaving more than 1.3 million Puerto Ricans with inadequate food assistance.  Moreover, Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis makes it difficult to provide local cost-shares for FEMA projects- necessitating a choice between extending local cost-share waivers and grinding the recovery to a halt.  Lastly, flexible HUD funding is a mainstay of any recovery effort- reducing that funding would be disastrous for the island and its residents,” wrote the members.

Co-Signers (56): Neal, Pallone, McGovern, Velázquez, Engel, Schiff, Clark, DeGette, SP Maloney, S. Bishop, S. Davis, Cárdenas, Higgins, Moore, Hastings, Napolitano, Wasserman Schultz, B. Lee, Espaillat, Raskin, Vela, Roybal-Allard, Kaptur, Castor, Himes, Soto, Clarke, C. Maloney, Crist, Morelle, Sires, Deutch, Blumenauer, Tlaib, Lipinski, Vargas, H. Johnson, Watson Coleman, Garcia (IL), Boyle, Schakowsky, McNerney, McCollum, Meng, Carbajal, Omar, Sablan, Correa, Garamendi, Lofgren, Escobar, Cicilline, Murcasel-Powell, Levin, Jayapal, Girjalva