Velázquez on Trump’s Announcement to Waive FEMA Matching for Puerto Rico
Washington, DC –Today, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement that the federal government will waive regulations requiring local matching funds from Puerto Rico for FEMA disaster relief:
“By granting a waiver for federal cost-sharing requirements, the people of Puerto Rico will be able to receive aid from FEMA without further digging into an already devastated local economy. This is something I requested in a letter to DHS yesterday.
“The President’s decision is belated and not enough. The waiver only applies for the next 180 days and, given the scope of this crisis, this period will not be sufficient. The President should extend this period to one year, at minimum. In addition, there should be a similar waiver of local matching funds granted for longer term, non-emergency federal assistance.
“In addition, the President must waive the Jones Act for one year. The aftermath of Hurricane Maria is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. Puerto Ricans are without food, clean water and electricity. We must use every tool at our disposal to channel assistance to the Island.
“I know the President is traveling to Puerto Rico and hope that trip makes clear to him the scope of the damage, but, again, I believe this decision is also too late. Crises like this require swift, decisive leadership and we need the President to finally give this catastrophe the serious attention it deserves. Lives are on the line. There can be no further delay.”