Cicilline, Top Democrats Unite to Demand Action on Puerto Rico

Nov 2, 2017

WASHINGTON – Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Co-Chair David N. Cicilline joined other leading House Democrats on the steps of the U.S. Capitol today to demand President Trump provide much-needed relief to the citizens in Puerto Rico.

“What has happened in Puerto Rico is a disgrace. These are American citizens. And the Trump administration has completely failed the citizens of Puerto Rico,” said Cicilline. “It’s time for the President to get off the golf course and get to work.”

Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. However, 43 days later, many U.S. citizens are still going without clean water. Nearly two-thirds still are without power. Fewer than 10% of the island’s schools have reopened.

Although Puerto Rican officials have estimated the damage may be as high as $95 billion, Congress has only approved $5 billion in relief to date. This week, Congressional Republicans abruptly cancelled a hearing on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) response to Hurricane Maria without explanation.

Despite these facts, President Donald Trump has said of the federal response, “I think we did a fantastic job.” When asked to rate the response on a scale of 1 to 10, the President added, “I give ourselves a 10.”

Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1900. Its residents have been American citizens since the passage of the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917. More than 21,000 Puerto Ricans live in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District. Over the last seven weeks, Cicilline’s office has provided information and assistance for hundreds of constituents, as well as collaborating with Central Falls Councilwoman Maria Rivera and the FEMA Regional Office for New England to provide information related to the efforts in Puerto Rico.