Velazquez Bill Would Protect Puerto Rico and Disaster Funds from Going Toward Trump Wall
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) introduced legislation that would prevent previously appropriated disaster relief funds from being used to finance President Trump’s border wall.
“Like many of my colleagues in Congress, I was alarmed when it was reported that the Administration is mulling taking resources meant to help Puerto Ricans who are still suffering from Hurricane Maria and diverting those funds to pay for Donald Trump’s stupid, hateful border wall,” Velázquez noted. “The idea that we would siphon assistance from one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history and spend that money on a project aimed at demonizing immigrants is appalling. My colleagues and I will fight such a preposterous move with every ounce of energy we have.”
In January it was reported that Trump was eyeing disaster recovery funds meant for Puerto Rico and Texas to pay for Trump’s border wall. Velázquez’s legislation, the “Protecting Disaster Relief Funds Act of 2019,” specifically “fences off” four previously enacted laws that appropriated disaster response and recovery funding from being used for other purposes. A similar mechanism was already included in the House’s most recent emergency supplemental appropriations bill, which passed the House in mid-January but has not yet been taken up by the U.S. Senate.
“Not only will those of us in Congress who care deeply about Puerto Rico oppose efforts to take disaster aid and spend it on a wall, but I expect my colleagues from across the country will oppose taking from other disaster relief funds, as well,” Velázquez added.
Velázquez’s bill would protect funds appropriated or otherwise previously made available by Congress to the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Corps of Engineers to address recent natural disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and forest fires in California. The measure has been cosponsored by: Reps. Vincente Gonzalez (D- TX); James P. McGovern (D- MA); Gilbert R. Jr. Cisneros (D- CA) Gwen Moore (D- WI); Adriano Espaillat (D- NY); Val Demings (D- FL); Bonnie Watson Coleman (D- NJ) John Garamendi (D- CA); Al Lawson (D- FL); and José E. Serrano (D-NY).