Smith, Velazquez lead House Democrats in demanding better response to Maria

by | Sep 28, 2017 | Bocaítos | Comments

The Puerto Rico Report covers the efforts by Representatives Nydia Velazquez (D) of New York and Adam Smith (D) of Washington to demand a better response from the federal government to the crisis in the Caribbean.

House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) led 145 Members of Congress in writing a letter to President Trump demanding that the Department of Defense deploy additional resources to aid recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Lawmakers are calling for the appointment of a senior general to oversee all recovery efforts, the deployment of life-saving military capabilities that would otherwise be unavailable to the relief effort, deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln, and an increase in personnel to assist local law enforcement.

The Democrats called for the appointment of a senior general to oversee all recovery efforts, the deployment of life-saving military capabilities that would otherwise be unavailable to the relief effort, deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln, and an increase in personnel to assist local law enforcement.

“President Trump’s effort to aid Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands has been wholly inadequate to date,” said Smith. “When a hurricane hits in the continental United States, you can send massive aid via roads, the National Guard can arrive from neighboring states, and people can leave the affected area. None of that is true here. There is no National Guard Navy, and more than 3.5 million American citizens are isolated and unable to access the most basic supplies. The U.S. military has unique capabilities that can help alleviate this situation, and the President must exercise the proper leadership to make that happen.”

So far the White House has approved a 10 day waiver of the Jones Act, and reduced the cost sharing requirement for emergency funds, facilitating some recovery efforts. However the President is convinced the federal government’s actions are doing well, so it is unknown if there will be any additional resources allocated.