Schumer Floor Remarks On The Omnibus Spending Bill, Standing by Puerto Rico, And The GOP Tax Bill

March 20, 2018
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding omnibus spending bill negotiations, the need to stand by Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the ongoing issues with the Republican tax bill. Below are his remarks which can also be viewed here:
First, on the omni I agree with the Leader. Hopefully, we can come to an agreement and pass this week. It has some things no one likes and it has some things not everybody likes, but most people like. It was a fair compromise, the basic structure of it and hopefully we can get to an agreement. Our staffs are working very hard.
Now, I’d like to say a word about Puerto Rico.
Today marks the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall on the island of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. As we all know, the storm was one of the most powerful and devastating to ever strike those islands. There was terrible damage to schools and hospitals, water systems and roads, homes and businesses. Months and months people didn’t have electricity, clean water, and cell service. Far too many people are still waiting for relief.
There are 120,000 people without electricity, and hundreds of thousands of people continue to lose power on a temporary basis. When calculating hours of lost electricity service, Puerto Rico is experiencing the longest blackout in the history of the United States.
Tens of thousands are still awaiting permanent shelter. More than 10,000 small businesses are closed.
Puerto Rico struggled with a severe debt and healthcare crisis before Hurricane Maria came to its shores. The damage wrought by the hurricane has set the island even further back. Despite the valiant efforts of its people.
Congress passed significant relief as a part of the bipartisan budget agreement earlier this year, and we must make sure that aid goes where it needs to go, and if additional aid is required, that we provide it.
To the long-suffering citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the thousands who have relocated to the mainland: we have not forgotten about you. We are here to help you. You are on our minds and we’re going to keep fighting to help you rebuild your homes, communities, and your beloved island.
Finally, a word on the Republican tax bill. I would just note that once again, this tax bill, every day the more people learn about it, the more they don’t like it. Stock buybacks continue at a rapid rate. Aid to workers is much, much smaller and the American people are learning that this bill was of, by, and for the wealthiest Americans and the most powerful corporations. That is wrong. We welcome the debate on the tax bill because the more people learn about it, the more they don’t like it.
###