VIDEO: Lowey Urges Passage of Disaster Relief, Condemns Trump’s Threat to Abandon Puerto Rico
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. House this afternoon urging Congress to pass the $36.5 billion emergency funding bill for disaster relief and criticizing President Trump’s threat to abandon the recovery effort in Puerto Rico.
“From a hurricane that damaged large swaths of Florida, storms that annihilated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and wildfires burning in the West, Americans deserve certainty the federal government will stand by them in their time of need,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “This is particularly important after the President threatened to abandon Puerto Rico in his latest Twitter tantrum this morning. Congress cannot turn its back on recovery, no matter how reckless the President’s outbursts may be as Americans are suffering and simply trying to survive.”
In her remarks, Congresswoman Lowey stressed the need for medium- and long-term investments that played critical roles in rebuilding from previous disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Many of these Democratic priorities were not included in the legislation, including grants to help community rebuilding efforts like housing; restoration of critical infrastructure; and repair and modernization of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.
On Friday, Congresswoman Lowey, in her capacity as Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee, will travel as part of a congressional delegation to Puerto Rico to see the devastation firsthand and to meet with local officials and emergency personnel. In addition to Lowey, the delegation on the trip will include House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R).
Included in the $36.5 billion emergency supplemental legislation that the House will vote on today is:
- $18.67 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), $4.9 billion of which will help stabilize Puerto Rican and local governments’ finances in storm-affected areas;
- $16 billion for cancellation of debt incurred by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP);
- $1.27 billion for disaster nutrition assistance in Puerto Rico through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and
- $576.5 million for wildland fire suppression.