Chair Grijalva Votes for Emergency Pu­erto Rico Earthquake Funding, Criticizes President Trump for Failing the People of Puerto Rico

Washington D.C. – Today Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) spoke on the House floor in favor of H.R. 5687, which provides $4.67 billion in emergency funding to Puerto Rico following 12 earthquakes of greater than 5.0 magnitude that have destroyed homes and infrastructure, led to major rockslides, and caused at least one fatality on the island. The bill provides funds to invest in community development, restart school operations, fund technical assistance related to electric grids, and revitalize the economy. 

President Trump has issued a veto threat for the bill, which the House approved this morning.

Chair Grijalva’s floor remarks can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2Uxw6qT.

“The Administration’s recent statement yesterday opposing H.R. 5687 shows total disdain for the people of Puerto Rico,” Grijalva said on the floor today. “President Trump continues to lie to the American people about the amount of federal funding spent to address natural disasters on the island. The president and his administration have a responsibility to ensure that the people of Puerto Rico are treated as full Americans and not colonized subjects. And I hope that at the National Prayer Breakfast that there was some echo of understanding regarding the teachings of the good Samaritan, the compassion we must have for other people and that, that will motivate the House today to pass this bill and move it forward.”

Earlier this week, Chair Grijalva released a new Committee report based on the findings of a staff research mission to the island to survey earthquake damage. The report details firsthand accounts and provides a series of urgent actions needed to speed recovery for the people of Puerto Rico, including the passage of this bill. The full report is available online at http://bit.ly/2SmDpig.

Following the recent earthquakes, Chair Grijalva called on President Trump to immediately release aid to Puerto Rico that Congress had appropriated after Hurricanes María and Irma – aid the Trump administration had refused to release. Trump’s decision to withhold federal disaster recovery funds following the hurricanes made earthquake recovery even more difficult than it would otherwise have been. In an unprecedented move, President Trump recently announced that he would not support this emergency funding bill. 

The Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over all Insular Areas, including Puerto Rico. Upon taking the lead of the Committee, Chair Grijalva visited Puerto Rico in 2019 two times to hear directly from the people of Puerto Rico and survey the impacts both of recent natural disasters and of ongoing financial austerity that has hurt the island’s fragile recovery.

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