The Humanitarian Crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
While Democrats are committed to ensuring that our fellow American citizens have the resources to recover and rebuild, the response from this Administration has been slow and inadequate.
Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are facing a humanitarian crisis following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. While Democrats are committed to ensuring that our fellow citizens have the resources to recover and rebuild, the response from this Administration has been slow and inadequate. Millions of Americans are still without power, access to clean drinking water and food, and telecom services. The infrastructure is severely damaged, cutting communities off from one another, and many people are homeless or living in homes without roofs. Many students have not returned to school and workers have lost their jobs or haven’t been able to return to work.
In late October,  Whip Hoyer led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Puerto Rico, USVI, and the Florida Keys to view the devastation and let our fellow citizens know they are not forgotten. As relief efforts continue, power restoration in Puerto Rico and USVI must be the top priority, as well as access to clean water and food. In addition, Democrats are committed to taking steps to rebuild infrastructure to 21st century standards so that these communities can withstand future storms.
Whip Hoyer and House Democrats are determined to provide these communities with the resources necessary to rebuild stronger than before. Congress must support our fellow citizens for as long it takes for them to get back on their feet.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Related
Reports that more than 4,645 Americans died as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, contrary to the Trump Administration’s official number of sixty-four, are deeply alarming and upsetting.
Today, the House passed a bipartisan, long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, action that was long overdue
I’m glad that the FAA bill the House passed today includes amendments to the Stafford Act that I worked to have added, which will help communities rebuild more resiliently and prepare for future natural disasters by investing in mitigation.
Six months ago, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Today, the residents of these islands, who are American citizens, are still struggling to rebuild and restore even basic services.
Hanukkah just came to a close, we are four days from Christmas, and we are nine days from the end of the year. And much of the work this Congress needs to do isn’t done. And so we find ourselves some 36 hours from shutting down our government.
News that the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has reached at least 1,065 is deeply saddening and alarming.  Puerto Ricans, who are our fellow American citizens, continue to face serious, life-threatening hardship after the storm as a result of inadequate access to medical care and from poor conditions in areas still without power, clean water, or sufficient food. 
I am pleased to join my friend, Nydia Velázquez, and so many others who are here who are going to speak up. Today, we will have a vote that will be a vote on delaying action, on delaying responsibility for the sole purpose of not working on help for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, for not helping on numerous other issues that will be important to the American people, tomorrow.
I have called for the Stafford Act to be amended in a way that will allow for communities affected by natural disasters to rebuild stronger than before, rather than to earlier standards that were insufficient to withstand storms and leave communities vulnerable in the future, as required under current law.
While a new supplemental emergency funding request to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria is welcome news, I am deeply disappointed that it falls far short of what communities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands need to rebuild. 
We recently led a bipartisan congressional delegation to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys to survey the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and to bear witness to the suffering of families and communities still without the basic necessities of power, water, fuel and access to health care. Only once we had arrived could we fathom the full scale of destruction wrought by the storms — and understand that smart rebuilding will require not only significant federal funding but also key changes in federal law to help protect these vulnerable areas from future damage.
Yesterday, House Republicans released their bill to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while leaving middle class families behind.
I just returned from a visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands along with Reps. Norma Torres and Anthony Brown as well as Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, and two of his colleagues.