Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released the following statement after an announcement by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that restrictions on Congressionally-appropriated federal disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico put in place under the Trump administration will be lifted starting today:
“We are thrilled that after years of pushing and prodding the Trump administration to end its appalling delay on disaster aid to Puerto Rico, President Biden and Secretary Fudge have made the correct decision to finally release the much-needed and long-awaited disaster relief funds for the island, that were appropriated by Congress back in 2017. While it is unacceptable it took this long, the disbursement of these funds to the people of Puerto Rico will allow our fellow Americans to finally fully rebuild their homes, schools and businesses. Senate Democrats have been long champions of Puerto Rico, and we will continue to prioritize long-term critical investments on the island, including a resilient, renewable energy grid and the infrastructure our American citizens on the island deserve.”
The billions in funding for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) were previously approved and appropriated by Congress but faced unnecessary delays and onerous restrictions when it came to disbursement under the Trump administration. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has consistently stood up for the needs of the people of Puerto Rico following the catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes that ravaged the island. Most recently, in early 2020, Leader Schumer led efforts urging the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to release congressionally approved disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico. Leader Schumer also joined several lawmakers in a letter to former HUD Secretary Ben Carson last year, demanding the agency immediately release the previously passed Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) funds. And in 2019, two years after Hurricane Maria, Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Patrick Leahy continued their strong advocacy for the Island, urging the Trump Administration to allow access to more than $18.4 billion in federally appropriated resources.