Washington, D.C. — Enrique Fernández-Toledo, director of the Puerto Rico Relief and Economic Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement urging Congress to provide additional fiscal year 2019 disaster assistance Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) funds for Puerto Rico:
Despite its limitations, the federal NAP is critical for Puerto Rican families—especially for children and the elderly, who are the largest groups of NAP recipients. It is estimated that 97 percent of NAP participants have a monthly income below half the poverty line while others who live below the poverty line remain with limited or no access to these benefits due to the program’s limited funding. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that current disaster assistance funds will be expended by March 2019, leaving more than 1.3 million Puerto Rican families facing benefit cuts and 100,000 more families with no NAP benefits for the remaining six months of fiscal year 2019.
Puerto Rico continues to suffer from unemployment and food insecurity following hurricanes Irma and Maria. That’s why CAP is calling on Congress to allocate $600 million dollars in additional disaster assistance NAP funding for Puerto Rico for fiscal year 2019 before the end of the current legislative session. CAP also urges individuals to contact the offices of the House and Senate leadership to express support for the inclusion of the much-needed additional disaster assistance NAP funding for Puerto Rico for fiscal year 2019.
CAP also calls on lawmakers in the 116th Congress to address the disparities in basic food assistance between Puerto Rico and the United States. Currently, it severely underfunds the nutritional needs of Puerto Rican families who deserve nothing less that SNAP-level funding to be able to put food on the table for their families.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Rafael Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-478-5313.