Historic Visit by LULAC Delegation from the Island Territory Secures Nearly $1 Billion in Immediate Relief
Washington, DC – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) announced that the expected vote in Congress Thursday approving $19.1 billion Disaster Aid bill includes critical health care assistance for Puerto Rico. The landmark win comes even as the largest delegation ever of LULAC members from the territory are still on Capitol Hill and at the White House making their case for fulfillment of a promise made nearly two years ago in the wake of Hurricane Maria which caused widespread devastation and loss of lives.
“This is a victory that has been long in coming for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Domingo Garcia, National President. “We’ve been working the Hill hard this week calling on every member of the House and Senate plus the White House with one simple and clear message: ‘Promises made must be promises kept for the American citizens of Puerto Rico.’ No more, no less and we are extremely happy that our visits and our voices have paid off. Disaster relief is common sense and should not be politicized.” he added.
The news was first reported by The Hill, a Washington, DC political digital newspaper. “Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said on Thursday afternoon that they had reached an agreement on the long-stalled legislation to respond to a recent spate of wildfires, hurricanes and storms.”
Jennie Rivera, LULAC State Director in Puerto Rico is among the elected and community leaders in Washington. “We are elated at the news and this is a step in the right direction. Our work now is to continue communicating to members of Congress and the Administration that Puerto Rico has suffered long enough and we must get the job done of funding all the rebuilding needed for millions of people still without roofs on their homes, clean and safe water, roads, bridges, schools or hospitals. We will not stop until we complete this task.”
A Republican legislative aid inside the Appropriations Committee revealed the deal includes $600 million in food stamp money plus an additional $300 million in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants for Puerto Rico. This is the initial phase of a larger, broader aid package which LULAC delegates say still must be approved to also provide for massive infrastructure rebuilding and assistance for homes and businesses destroyed or heavily damaged in 2017.
“Our LULAC members came to Washington and spoke truth to power making a personal plea based upon the facts of what Puerto Rico has endured for 22-months,” said Sindy Benavides, CEO. “Never before had LULAC Puerto Rico undertaken such an enormous lobbying effort at the very heart of where these decisions are made. There’s no doubt that their passion and determination to be heard and the unity with which they are acting convinced lawmakers this is the right time. In fact, their hard work up and down the halls of Congress this week reminded our leaders of the duty we all have to 3.1 million people in Puerto Rico. This is a great day,” she concluded.