Governor Rosselló welcomes Congressional Emergency Disaster Relief Funding
(7 de febrero de 2018 – La Fortaleza, San Juan) The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, expressed gratitude at the news that the leadership of the United States House and Senate have reached an agreement on much needed federal disaster relief aid for Puerto Rico.
The emergency supplemental funding introduced today is expected to be voted on and approved tomorrow as part of the broader budget and appropriations legislative package.
The bill includes over $6.8 billion assigned specifically to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Of these funds $4.8 billion will directly aid over 600,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Puerto Rico who were at risk of losing their coverage in April due to the Medicaid funding cliff.
An additional $2 billion will go directly to rebuilding and improving the energy infrastructure of Puerto Rico.
“After months of intense advocacy efforts led by my Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) office in Washington, I am grateful that Congressional leaders have finally headed our demands to provide badly needed emergency relief to the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico”, expressed the chief executive.
Rosselló also added that “working hand in hand with senators Schumer, Nelson, and the broader Congressional Democratic Caucus in both House and Senate, we were able to secure a major legislative victory in this disaster funding legislation. I want to thank them and their Democratic colleagues for their great work on this bill.”
The governor explained that “this agreement will help address the critical healthcare needs of the most vulnerable residents of Puerto Rico. It will provide a period of stability to the Island’s entire healthcare system. While this is a great achievement for Puerto Rico, we look forward to working with Congress to find a sustainable long-term solution to Puerto Rico’s unequal treatment under Medicaid.”
The unprecedented emergency relief funding for rebuilding Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure will be provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program.
Puerto Rico will also receive significant funds from the broader CDBG-DR appropriation for rebuilding hundreds of thousands of damaged homes. This broader CDBG-DR appropriation, which will benefit Florida, Texas, California as well as Puerto Rico, totals $28 billion.
“As the tireless efforts to restore electricity to every resident and business in Puerto Rico continues, I welcome Congressional recognition of the need to not just restore power, but to also vastly improve the resilience and efficiency of our energy infrastructure.
The $2 billion in CDBG-DR funds, along with continued FEMA funding and support, will be vital to fuel Puerto Rico’s economic recovery and revitalization,” emphasized the Governor.
“With these resources we can begin rebuilding our housing and energy future, putting Puerto Rico on a new path forward.”
Puerto Rico will also continue benefitting from the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, which will be appropriated an additional $23.5 billion for recovery, repairs and future mitigation efforts. These funds are in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars that will be provided to Puerto Rico through agency specific programs.
“While this bill isn’t perfect, and additional federal resources will need to be secured in the future, I am confident that working together with Congress we will be able to build back Puerto Rico better than ever,” the Governor added.