Warren, Thompson, Velázquez Urge President to Fully Fund Emergency Response in Puerto Rico
Lawmakers call on White House to waive local cost-sharing requirements following recent earthquakes: "As Puerto Rico faces new challenges in the wake of these strong earthquakes, the federal government must not stand in the way of Puerto Rico's recovery"
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Protection, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), sent a letter urging President Trump to waive Puerto Rico's local cost-sharing requirement following recent earthquakes and to ensure that the federal government fully cover recovery expenses associated with the emergency that has been declared in Puerto Rico. In calling for the waiver, lawmakers noted the challenging financial situation and extensive damage in Puerto Rico.
"As Puerto Rico faces new challenges in the wake of these strong earthquakes, the federal government must not stand in the way of Puerto Rico's recovery," the lawmakers wrote to the President.
Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), which makes federal funds available to areas experiencing a disaster, the federal government is required to cover at least 75% of eligible costs, with local governments providing matching funds to cover remaining costs. However, the federal government has discretion to decrease the amount of local matching funds, including by increasing the federal share of covered costs to 100%. President Trump exercised this discretion when he adjusted the cost-share for Puerto Rico for certain disaster assistance activities after Hurricane Maria. The Trump administration has currently set the local cost-sharing requirement for eligible costs related to Puerto Rico's recent earthquakes at 25%, which will be a barrier to the island's recovery.
"We urge you to again adjust the cost-share to a 100% federal share for Puerto Rico to help the island respond and recover," wrote the lawmakers. "Without quick action to adjust the cost-share, Puerto Rico may be unable to receive or be delayed in receiving critical assistance needed to make emergency repairs to public facilities and infrastructure."
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Adam Comis (Thompson), 202-225-9978
Ashley Woolheater (Warren), 202-224-2292
Alex Haurek (Velázquez), 202-225-2361
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