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June 26, 2018

Thompson & Velázquez Lead Letter to Speaker Ryan to Urge He Place Puerto Rico Independent Commission Bill on House Floor

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), led a group of 21 Democratic House members in writing Speaker Ryan to urge him to put legislation (H.R. 6103) on the House floor to establish an independent commission to examine the Federal preparation for and response to the 2017 hurricanes in Puerto Rico.  There is historical precedent for Congress to act after a failed disaster response: in 2005, House Speaker Hastert stood up a select bipartisan committee after the Bush Administration’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina.

Letter excerpts:

“While the 2018 hurricane season started June 1, many in Puerto Rico are still struggling to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which struck the territory nine months ago.  Our fellow Americans are still struggling due in no small part to the Trump Administration’s failure to prepare for or respond to the hurricanes adequately…”

“It is clear that we cannot depend on the Trump Administration to accurately assess its abysmal response to Hurricane Maria and implement desperately needed reforms.  Despite all the failures, President Trump has given himself a “10” and blamed Puerto Rico’s geographic location for the failed Federal response efforts…” 

“Mr. Speaker, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria you stated that the U.S. government was committed for the “long haul” to helping Puerto Rico.   More than nine months later, the work to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria continues.  It is only right that Congress continue the commitment that you made to Puerto Rico.  Again, we hope we can count on your support for legislation to establish an independent commission to examine the Federal response to Hurricane Maria.  We look forward to your action on this important matter.”

Link to Letter

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Media contacts:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Velázquez) Alex Haurek at 202-225-2361