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August 31, 2018

Thompson, Velázquez Urge FEMA to Extend Funding for Hurricane Maria Cleanup in Puerto Rico

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) sent letters to President Trump and to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in support of Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s appeal of FEMA’s August 15 denial of a request to extend 100 percent Federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Puerto Rico. 

In the letter, the Members write:

Over the last year, Puerto Ricans have been working diligently to put their communities back together after Hurricane Maria devastated the entire territory. However, the conditions that merited the 100 percent cost share remain. This funding is essential to allowing Puerto Rico to continue working to re-establish some of the most basic community necessities, including power restoration, water, critical infrastructure, and debris removal. 

Prior to Hurricane Maria making landfall, the financial resources of the territorial government and municipalities were limited.  Following the storm, financial resources became more strained and are exhausted.  FEMA choosing to not extend the 100 percent Federal funding for these projects carries significant risk of compounding tragedy.  Not only can the municipalities not afford to pay to have debris removed, but existing debris and unaddressed emergency protective measures would likely cause further damage to communities, which could increase the severity and impact of future storms. Puerto Ricans need FEMA to provide reliable support as they continue to address Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact.

Link to Letter to FEMA
Link to Letter to President Trump

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Media contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978