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Florida Reps Urge Feds to Help Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands After Hurricane Maria

September 25, 2017 - 10:00am
Carlos Curbelo, Darren Soto and Mario Diaz-Balart
Carlos Curbelo, Darren Soto and Mario Diaz-Balart

A congressman from Central Florida is urging the Trump administration to provide additional support for American territories in the Caribbean devastated by Hurricane Maria. 

On Friday, freshman U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., sent letters to President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), to calling for more funds for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to reports at the end of last week, it will take three to four months for power to be fully restored in Puerto Rico while the Defense Department has dispatched personnel to restore communications in the Virgin Islands where officials continue to asses the damage. 

Soto rounded up members of Congress--including South Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and fellow Central Florida Democrat U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy--to sign the letter. 

“While still recovering from Hurricane Irma, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were devastated by Hurricane Maria,” the representatives wrote. “We anticipate continued devastation due to the widespread flooding and complete destruction of the current infrastructure. Therefore, we urge your continued support in the aftermath of this dangerous storm.”

On the other end of Capitol Hill, members of the U.S. Senate are also urging the federal government to focus on helping Puerto Rico.  On Wednesday, Florida’s two U.S. senators--Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio--sent letters to Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, urging them to show the same level of determination in responding to Hurricane Maria’s impact as the federal government did to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

“As you certainly understand, early declarations have proven vital to ensuring that federal agencies are prepared to swiftly and effectively respond to the requests of local officials tasked with protecting our fellow citizens during and after natural disasters,” the senators wrote Trump. “It is important that the federal government stands ready to assist in the difficult days after Hurricane Maria passes, when hope must be available to combat despair. Because of your foresight, our family, friends, and neighbors in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will emerge from yet another major hurricane this month ready to rebuild and recover. However, as even the best laid plans can be overwhelmed by natural forces, we urge your administration’s continued attention to this dangerous storm so that appropriate federal resources can quickly be made available as locally unmet needs arise.

“Once again, thank you for your leadership and for your attention to the needs of Americans in Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean who have been and continue to be directly impacted by this Atlantic hurricane season,” the senators added.


READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS

Florida Delegation Wants Federal Government to Assist Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Gas Prices Start to Drop in Florida After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

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