In Wake Of President Trump’s Tweets Questioning Long-Term Commitment To Puerto Rico, Senate Dems Release New Letter Urging Administration & FEMA To Immediately Greenlight Federal Funding That Will Allow PR To Complete Long-Term Rebuilding & Recovery Projects Following Hurricane Maria Devastation

Puerto Rico’s Governor Requested Funds That Will Allow The Commonwealth To Repair Roads & Bridges, Water Control Facilities, Public Utilities, And More Over A Week Ago - But FEMA Has Yet To Give Stamp Of Approval Senate Dems Say There Should Be No Ambiguity That The Federal Government Intends To Provide Critical Assistance To Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria’s Wrath Dems To Administration: Puerto Rico Needs Commitment That The Federal Government Will Be There To Help With Rebuilding

October 16, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Democrats today released a new letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long urging the administration to immediately greenlight the federal funds Puerto Rico needs to rebuild and recover following the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. This push comes on the heels of President Trump’s recent tweets that threw the federal government’s commitment to long-term projects and recovery efforts on the island into question. While Puerto Rico’s governor submitted the request for funding over a week ago, the agency has yet to provide its stamp of approval on the federal dollars that would allow the Commonwealth to rebuild roads and bridges, water control facilities, public utilities, and more. The Democrats said that Puerto Rico needs a commitment that the federal government will be there to assist with the rebuilding efforts.

The letter was signed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer(D-NY), as well as U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

A copy of the Senate Democrats’ letter can be found below and here.

Dear Administrator Long:

We write to urge you to approve Puerto Rico's request for Permanent Work Public Assistance (PA) for damages caused by Hurricane Maria as expeditiously as possible. The scale of damages across the island is clear, and Puerto Rico should not have to wait any longer for this assistance to be granted so they can begin the process of rebuilding their infrastructure and communities.

It is our understanding that Governor Rosselló submitted a request for Permanent Work over a week ago. As you know, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Permanent Work, also referred to as Categories C-G PA, includes permanent repairs to roads and bridges; water control facilities; public buildings and contents; public utilities; and parks, recreational, and other facilities. Permanent Work funding from FEMA is the main source of federal assistance to help a community repair and rebuild its public infrastructure after a natural disaster, and there should be absolutely no ambiguity that the federal government intends to provide this crucial assistance to help Puerto Rico build back after Hurricane Maria.

In addition to approving Categories C-G as quickly as possible, we urge the Administration to work with Congress to increase the federal cost-share of these expenses for rebuilding and repair. As you know, Puerto Rico has faced a challenging financial situation for some time now, and we are concerned about the Commonwealth's ability to find the funds to pay the 25 percent local match that is generally required for Public Assistance. We call on the Administration to work with Congress to set the federal cost share at 100 percent for all categories of Public Assistance, including permanent repairs.

Thank you for your attention to this important request. We hope that FEMA and its other federal partners will work to ensure that Puerto Rico receives all appropriate resources and assistance that it deserves as the island continues to recover and rebuild.


U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)