HF Statement on Senator Sanders’ Puerto Rico Bill

November 30,2017 (New York, NY) Hispanic Federation's President José Calderón issued the following statement regarding Senator Bernie Sanders' Just Rebuild for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Act of 2017

The Hispanic Federation extends its enthusiastic support for Senator Bernie Sanders' "Just Rebuild for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Act of 2017." Together with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Kamala Harris and Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Darren Soto, Senator Sanders has created the framework for a comprehensive response to the disaster in the Caribbean. This bill creates the framework for a Marshall Plan that both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands desperately need.

More than two months after Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean and destroyed much of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Congress has yet to create a relief and reconstruction program that reflects the complex needs of these islands. With infrastructure crippled, businesses closing, and residents fleeing for the mainland United States, the federal government's failure to act threatens to extend the suffering of millions of American citizens and undercut any hope of a quick, just and lasting recovery. At nearly every turn, the federal response to this crisis has been woefully insufficient and inadequate.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Hispanic Federation issued a series of policy principles that should guide the relief and reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico. These principles were designed to make certain that the federal disaster response wasn't limited to providing emergency supplies and aid but also included a robust investment in the island's economy, health care systems, and infrastructure. We are heartened that the "Just Rebuild" bill provides immediate, necessary and appropriate relief while also addressing a number of the structural impediments to recovery, especially as it relates to Puerto Rico.

We are especially pleased that "Just Rebuild" legislation includes a robust debt relief component, addresses the lack of parity in health care funding through Medicaid and Medicare, and provides federal support for the creation of a sustainable energy grid for the islands. We call on members of Congress to support this legislation and provide Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders with the aid they require and deserve.

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About Hispanic Federation
The mission of the Hispanic Federation is to empower and advance the Hispanic community. The Hispanic Federation provides grants and services to a broad network of Latino non-profit agencies serving the most vulnerable members of the Hispanic community and advocates nationally with respect to the vital issues of education, health, immigration, economic empowerment, civic engagement and the environment. For more information, please