Grijalva Calls Out Committee Republicans for Failing to Address the Humanitarian Crisis in Puerto Rico & USVI

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of today’s 2 p.m. ET hearing, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) pointed out that Committee Republicans are taking advantage of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) vulnerable state by focusing on expanding federal control over the island’s recovery efforts, instead of talking about providing immediate relief for the territories. The Committee invited Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico and Governor Kenneth Mapp of USVI to discuss their disaster recovery efforts.

“Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are in the midst of a humanitarian and financial crisis, but Committee Republicans won’t talk about that,” Grijalva said. “Instead they’ll talk about their desire for the federal government to take over spending in the Virgin Islands, the efforts of Puerto Rico’s oversight board to expand its own powers, or a pseudo investigation into the Whitefish contract even though the real work is being done by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General. We’ll talk about everything except for the fact that for the past two months American citizens have been living in the dark and are struggling to survive without clean drinking water or a sustainable food supply. People need to face the fact that if this was Houston or Miami, this situation would not be allowed to persist and it is well past time that the federal emergency response matches those provided to areas on the U.S. mainland.”

Last month, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Grijalva sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) requesting a comprehensive audit and investigation of a $300 million no-bid contract between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Association (PREPA) and Whitefish Energy Holdings, LLC. Similar investigations have been launched by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DHS IG recently confirmed that he’s looking into both the Whitefish Energy and Cobra contracts.

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