Hispanic Caucus Demands Meeting with FEMA One Year After Hurricane Maria
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Michelle Luján Grisham (D-NM) wants to know what immediate steps FEMA and the federal government are taking to assist in Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery efforts, and what concrete plans the agency is taking to ensure the poor response to this tragedy and loss of life that followed Hurricane Maria never happens again. She and CHC Caucus members on Thursday sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long and Tito Hernández, Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer at the Puerto Rico Joint Field Office, requesting a meeting to get answers to some of these pressing questions, specifically about funding. “[W]e have numerous questions regarding reports that the disbursement of federal funds to Puerto Rico have been extremely slow, and that the agency has decided to reject requests to extend the full federal cost share for much of FEMA’s ongoing work,” the members wrote. “The economy, infrastructure, electrical grid, and civic institutions are still rebuilding a year after the storm. It is clear that more must be done to assist Puerto Rico’s recovery.” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló says it has been a hard recovery process. “The level of devastation and the magnitude of Maria is something that was really hard to plan for. Things that take seven days on a normal transaction from FEMA take over 140 days," he said. The CHC letter comes as FEMA has stopped paying for housing from some of the displaced residents who are now homeless. “The Trump Administration’s inability to acknowledge facts and continued attempts to distort reality about recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, erodes public trust that the government will come to the aid of its citizens after a disaster. Never again can we let so many U.S. citizens suffer while the President and Executive branch remain so publicly disinterested,” the lawmakers added. Read the full letter here.