Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement on the importance of responding to the growing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands:
“In the aftermath of not one but two historically destructive hurricanes, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are running out of food and potable water. In Puerto Rico, 70% of hospitals have been shut down, 95% of households have lost power, and 250,000 homes have been destroyed. The U.S. territories in the Caribbean are on the verge of a full-blown humanitarian crisis, and yet recovery efforts are moving at a glacial pace.
“The Trump administration should request additional funds for search-and-rescue and recovery operations, and Congress should authorize such funds immediately. The president must also direct FEMA to waive the 25% equity contribution requirement to ease the burden on Puerto Rico’s government, which is already in the midst of a financial crisis.
“Tragically, it seems as though some of our leaders need the following reminder: Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders are citizens of the United States, just like Texans and Floridians. They deserve the full support of our government as they recover from some of the most destructive hurricanes the Caribbean has ever seen. Anything less than a rapid, comprehensive response to this disaster would be a flagrant violation of the government’s constitutional duty to treat all citizens equally under the law.”