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 the Senate to provide additional funds for Puerto Rico in its disaster aid package:
It is particularly cruel to deny Puerto Rico the help it needs as the island continues to suffer from unemployment and food insecurity following hurricanes Irma and Maria. Senate Republicans should reject President Donald Trump’s callous views and pass without further delay the House bill that includes sorely needed food aid for Puerto Rican families, as well as matching funds for FEMA and support for addressing the environmental and public safety threats. Congress should also ensure that the administration rebuilds Puerto Rico to higher standards. This delay in approving funds not only harms Puerto Ricans, but millions of other American citizens across the country who need disaster assistance.
About 100,000 households in Puerto Rico have lost all Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) benefits, and regular NAP recipients have lost up to 30 percent of benefits. This crisis is hurting one of the most vulnerable areas in the country, which already faces high unemployment and food insecurity. All senators should reject the president’s petty partisanship and promptly approve the House disaster supplemental bill. We are grateful to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for their steadfast demand for a comprehensive package of aid for Puerto Rico.
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