Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Biden Administration’s Delivery Of Badly Needed Disaster Relief Funds For Puerto Rico Held Up By President Trump And The American Rescue Plan’s Investment In American Families In Puerto Rico

April 20, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the release of federal funds for Puerto Rico’s disaster relief, which were appropriated by Congress in 2017 but faced disbursement restrictions under the Trump administration. Senator Schumer also laid out the need to treat Puerto Rico fairly.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

You couldn’t find a better study in contrasts than the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration. On so many issues, the executive branch is finally returning to competence, undoing the damage wrought by four years of Trump’s presidency.

One important example came last night.

Beginning in 2017, the Trump Administration maliciously held back billions of dollars in Congressionally approved disaster aid to Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans. This was vicious on the part of Donald Trump. Nasty. So typical, the pettiness, and inhumanity of his administration.

Well, the Biden Administration has finally ended this appalling delay, and will release the much-needed disaster relief funds that Puerto Rico has waited for for almost five years.

The release of these funds means that the people of Puerto Rico can finally and fully rebuild their homes, their schools, their businesses.

Puerto Rico, unfortunately, has too often been an afterthought to work here in Washington. Funds that would normally go to any state after a natural disaster like Hurricane Maria got delayed for years, over the course of an entire administration. Puerto Ricans are American citizens and should be treated exactly as such when disaster strikes.

That’s why in the American Rescue Plan, Democrats passed the largest, most comprehensive relief package for the people of Puerto Rico in a long, long time.

I’m proud to have worked with my House colleagues, particularly Rep. Nydia Velázquez, to get that done.

Prior to the American Rescue Plan, the federal government had never supported Puerto Rico’s tax credit for low-income workers. We did that for the first time ever.

Shockingly, prior to the American Rescue Plan, only families with three or more children in Puerto Rico could claim the Child Tax Credit. That seemed to me to be racist in its application. We fixed that and made sure that every family in Puerto Rico could claim the credit, just like every other American family.

So as long as Democrats have a majority here in the Senate, I’m going to make sure that Puerto Rico is treated fairly, and gets its fair share of support. When it comes to this disaster aid, I’m so glad the Biden Administration is rectifying the issue. I hope we never repeat such a shameful delay.