Congress will vote today or tomorrow on a recovery package for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas and California. Please call your Senators and Representative now and tell them Puerto Rico needs recovery funding to rebuild to withstand the next storm. Tell them Puerto Rico needs debt relief. Tell them that US Citizens living in Puerto Rico should be able to receive the same level of access to Medicaid, Medicare and child tax benefits that citizens can access who live in the States.
Already, because of your phone calls and e-mails, we stripped the tax package of an "excise" tax on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. This happened because of the calls and e-mails we generated to Congress. While there still are some parts of the tax package that hurt Puerto Rico, we've made progress and we are getting commitments to fix this in the new year. Your continued action is so important. Our actions as of now have secured provisions in the upcoming aid package to ensure that infrastructure will be built stronger than before.
Within hours, Congress will vote on recovery funds for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as part of their vote to keep the government open.
Yesterday, Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez joined Jubilee USA's Director Eric LeCompte to meet with the teams of Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell. Afterwards, Jubilee USA and our partners hosted a prayer service in a Congress office building for Puerto Rico. Supporting and participating groups included the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United Church of Christ, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Franciscan Action Network, the National Association of Evangelicals, Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Relief. Archbishop Gonzalez presided over the service and he reflected:
"Puerto Rico desperately needs a complete debt relief, funding for rebuilding, and equal access to Medicare, Medicaid and child tax benefit funding. Puerto Rico, in spite of its colonial history with Spain and the United States for more than 500 years, with all the inequalities and humiliations that entails, has exemplified a Christian spirit of reconciliation towards Spain and the United States in its quest to live in dignity, freedom, equality and peace in the world community.
"Today, all of us, clergy, religious, people representing many faiths and denominations, government officials, lay people and people of good will, gathered in this prayer service organized by Jubilee USA to pray for the people of Puerto Rico and for an awakening of the hearts of the Representatives and Senators in Congress and to give thanks to God for the precious God-given gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today we pray with the persistence and tenacity of the widow of the gospel; we pray full of hope that the miracle of compassion, openness toward and solidarity with Puerto Rico may come true."
Your calls are urgently needed. Call Congress and say that Puerto Rico needs recovery funding to rebuild to withstand the next storm. Tell them Puerto Rico needs debt relief. Tell them that US Citizens living in Puerto Rico should be able to receive the same level of access to Medicaid, Medicare and child tax benefits that citizens can access who live in the States.
Thanks for taking action,
Lydia C. Andrews
Jubilee USA Network