WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey today delivered the following remarks at a press conference with House Democrats marking 90 days since the Trump administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) illegally ignored a statutory deadline to issue a Federal Register notice needed for Puerto Rico to access disaster relief funds:
I’d like to thank my friend Chairman Price for holding this press conference today.
More than 2 years after Hurricane Maria destroyed their homes, businesses, and public infrastructure, the American people of Puerto Rico are still without much-needed relief and recovery assistance because of perpetual – and illegal – stonewalling by this administration.
As early as February of 2018, Congress appropriated funds for Puerto Rico’s recovery.
On June 6, 2019, an additional $331 million in aid for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was signed into law.
That legislation also required HUD to publish all Federal Register notices for mitigation funding by September 4, 2019. No caveats. No carve-outs. No exemptions.
Yet, as we stand here today, 90 days past that statutory deadline, the notice for Puerto Rico still has not been issued.
The Administration’s decision to knowingly ignore that deadline is not only unacceptable, it is unlawful.
The Administration must immediately issue the mitigation notice for Puerto Rico, a necessary step for the island to access aid.
The American people of Puerto Rico are calling for help. There is no room for more delays or excuses from this Administration.
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