Connecticut Delegation Joins Esty-Led Letter Urging Disaster Relief for Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Connecticut’s five-member House delegation, led by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), sent a letter to President Trump today urging a waiver for federal matching requirements for recovery programs and economic assistance for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands “until both territories become more economically stable.”
“It has been weeks since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, yet Americans on the island still lack access to clean drinking water, food, and shelter,” Esty said. “These delays are unconscionable, especially given the speed the federal government showed in rushing aid to Texas and Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Connecticut’s friends, families, and loved ones in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands deserve more than a federal government that stands by idly as they suffer.”
As the letter notes, the Stafford Act enables the president to allocate federal disaster assistance to states and territories. Both states and territories are required to share in the cost of the disaster assistance; however, that requirement may be amended or waved in circumstances where a state or territory would be unduly burdened. The Department of Homeland Security issued a notice on September 2nd granting such an amendment to the State of Texas’s cost-sharing requirements in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The signers of the letter argue that similar relief should be provided to areas affected by Hurricane Maria.
The full text of the letter, as well as a list of representatives who signed it, can be found here.