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Rubio, Nelson Call on FEMA to Continue Paying Full Cost of Puerto Rico Recovery Effort
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) are calling on FEMA to extend its agreement to pay the full cost of Puerto Rico’s post-hurricane emergency recovery efforts for – at least – 90 more days.
In a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long, the senators asked FEMA to extend its “100 percent federal cost-share” agreement and cover the full cost of any debris removal for 90 more days, and the full cost of any other emergency services – such as food, shelter and fuel for generators – for 120 more days.
The “100 percent cost-share agreement” currently in place – which allows Puerto Rico to be reimbursed by FEMA for the full amount of any of these costs incurred during the recovery – is set to expire today. Unless extended, as the senators are requesting, Puerto Rico will only be reimbursed 90 percent of any costs incurred and will be responsible for paying the remaining 10 percent itself.
Following is the text of the lawmakers’ letter and a pdf is available here.
May 18, 2018
The Honorable Brock Long
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Administrator Long:
We write in support of Puerto Rico’s request for an additional extension of the 100 percent federal cost-share, which is scheduled to end today. Nearly eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, communities still struggle with unreliable electricity, blocked roads and canals are prevalent, and housing resources remain insufficient. Continued federal assistance is required to ensure Puerto Rico has the resources it needs to continue its recovery efforts.
According to Puerto Rico officials, the island is still experiencing frequent power outages, with an island-wide blackout occurring just last month that took over 24 hours to resolve. Additionally, reports show two-thirds of municipalities continue to clear debris from homes, roads, and waterways, presenting a clear public health and safety issue that must be addressed as soon as possible. And while some homes are no longer habitable, FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program is set to expire on June 30, 2018, leaving many families without a home to which they may return.
The 2018 hurricane season is just a few short weeks away, and our fellow Americans simply do not have the resources to both recover from Hurricane Maria and prepare for what may come. We urge you to approve a 90-day extension for Category A work and a 120-day extension for Category B work at the 100 percent federal cost-share.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.