Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) led fellow Members of Congress in writing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security calling for tangible steps to accelerate Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria. The lawmakers are requesting that the Jones Act be temporarily waived in order to expedite supplies being shipped into the Island's ports. Additionally, the letter asks that Puerto Rico be exempted from requirements that local resources match federal funds expended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
When Hurricane Maria savaged the Island, many of our deepest fears were realized. With a power grid that already faced serious infrastructure problems, the storm has shut down power for the entirety of Puerto Rico. Even before Maria made landfall, the Island was already suffering from economic and financial crisis. Now, at the worst time possible, the Island has endured a natural disaster of historic proportions. Puerto Rican are Americans who have fought in nearly every major conflict, shedding blood and giving their lives for our country. We cannot and will not turn our backs on them.