PUERTO RICO – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren led a congressional delegation trip to Puerto Rico to conduct oversight of Hurricane Maria recovery efforts, yesterday, January 12.
The delegation will survey the damage from Hurricane Maria, assess the work and resources necessary to help the island fully recover, and speak personally with residents and government officials to discuss how best to support the people of Puerto Rico.
The trip includes Senator Edward J. Markey and Representatives Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano, Niki Tsongas, Katherine Clark and Seth Moulton, all members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation. Congresswoman Clark represents Framingham.
“Far too many of our fellow U.S. citizens are still without electricity and the resources they need to rebuild. Even before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Massachusetts was the proud home of 300,000 Puerto Ricans – and thousands more have come to the Bay State since Hurricane Maria upended their lives,” the delegation members said. “We’re going to Puerto Rico to see firsthand the devastation on the island and how we can help our fellow citizens along the path to a full recovery. We have not forgotten our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico – they can count on us.”
During the trip, the members will visit Hospital del Niño in San Juan, Integral Health Council of Loíza and a shelter in Canóvanas.
The members will also receive a briefing at Joint Field Office in Guaynabo from representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Health and Human Services.
Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Senator Warren has:
- Led eight of her colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in writing to HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to request that the Committee hold hearings to assess the challenges facing the health and educational systems of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
- Called for an investigation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to award over $30 million in contracts to Bronze Star LLC for temporary roofing materials in Puerto Rico that were never delivered. (The DHS IG has said it will investigate: https://www.apnews.com/3ef6e4c86aa34e8e831018948eeccb0a)
- Introduced a comprehensive plan, along with Senator Sanders and colleagues, to address the immediate humanitarian needs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and ensure that the islands not only recover, but are able to rebuild in a way that empowers them to thrive.
- Led five of her Senate colleagues in writing to the Department of Defense to request information on the Department’s efforts to provide medical care in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria, and to request information on the role of the USNS Comfort in the Department’s Puerto Rico response efforts.
- Joined colleagues in urging Senate appropriators to include in a third disaster supplemental bill additional funding to help schools impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
- Urged Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board to request that the Court overseeing Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring completely write off the Island’s debt obligations.
- Led a group of 12 senators asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about water- and vector-borne diseases in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Written to the Trump Administration outlining what ought to be included in a third disaster supplemental appropriations bill to address the damage caused by hurricanes and wildfires across the country.
- Joined colleagues in demanding federal agencies expedite power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Joined in leading a group of 7 senators in pushing the Trump administration to increase efforts on Vieques and Culebra, especially securing the Vieques Superfund site.
- Urged the Department of Education to use its discretion to help college students and student loan borrowers displaced or otherwise unable to continue their education in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
- Led a group of senators urging DHS to take steps to ensure the accuracy of the official fatality count in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
- Called for Puerto Rico’s debt relief during a Capitol Hill rally in coordination with the #JustRecovery march.
- Participated in a FEMA briefing on the status of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Led a coalition of senators in a letter to President Trump, urging him to step up disaster recovery efforts on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra.
- Held community meetings in Massachusetts to discuss the economic and humanitarian crises on the islands.
- Pressed President Trump to take eight immediate, specific actions in response to the crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Urged HHS to provide additional resources and better coordinate efforts to combat the growing public health crisis on the ground.
- Called on the President to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to more swiftly respond to the disaster.
- Written to Republican leadership requesting that Congress be allowed to promptly take up legislation to provide the necessary aid to the U.S. citizens living on the islands.
- Asked President Trump to waive the local cost-sharing requirement for the hurricane response in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and for the federal government to fully cover recovery expenses.
- Joined Senator Markey in calling for a resolution to the Univision-Verizon retransmission dispute, to hasten the restoration of Spanish-language news programming in the wake of the hurricanes.