Six Months After Hurricane Maria, Rubio Urges President Trump to Continue Support for Puerto Rico
Washington, D.C. – Six months after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today urged the Trump administration to continue to focus its efforts on the long-term stability of Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. President:
Today marks six months since Hurricane Maria made landfall, causing extreme devastation to Puerto Rico in its wake. Americans living in Puerto Rico lost their homes and livelihoods and while much of the news coverage has shifted, many are still struggling to rebuild their lives. Six months after Hurricane Maria, much of the island still faces significant challenges in its recovery. Thus, I write to reiterate the continued need for federal support and urge your administration to focus its efforts on the long-term stability of Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm.
I commend the actions already undertaken by executive agencies, including the immediate recovery efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the extension of Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Puerto Rican businesses adversely affected by the storm, and the continued extension of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program. I am also proud of the legislative responses by Congress, including funding to repair infrastructure, hospitals, schools, community health centers, electrical grid repair, as well as two years of funding for Medicaid. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico’s recovery has been arduous and significant work remains to be accomplished.
Thousands of American families on the island remain without electricity, and still many others grapple with frequent outages, leaving them living in destitute conditions and forcing many businesses to close their doors. For the displaced Puerto Ricans who have left the island for the mainland, the lack of long-term affordable housing options has resulted in a reliance on FEMA TSA vouchers, forcing them to live in motels for months. Making matters more difficult, many families now face uncertainty over their continued eligibility in the program.
It is critical that the federal government continue our commitment to help our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. We must ensure the stability of displaced Puerto Ricans, affording them the opportunity to return if they wish, or the prospects to work and provide for their families on the mainland. Therefore, I urge your administration’s continued attention to their plight, so the island can continue to receive the vital assistance it needs to recover.
Thank you for your continued attention to this important matter.