Senate Votes on Puerto Rico Disaster Aid and Emergency Food Assistance

Washington, DC - The Senate agreed to vote next week on disaster relief legislation that includes $600 million in emergency food assistance for Puerto Rico. In recent days, a turbulent exchange between President Trump and Congressional leadership exploded over whether or not Puerto Rico disaster aid monies should be included in Senate legislation.

“We need to urgently pass more disaster relief for Puerto Rico. Too many fellow Americans continue to suffer in Puerto Rico because of the hurricanes and a terrible financial crisis," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, whose organization ran a three-month campaign to pass $600 million for Puerto Rico's Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP).

Now, legislation poised for Senate vote as early as Monday includes funding for Puerto Rico's NAP. The "food stamps" program supports poor people affected after 2017 hurricanes decimated the island. The Senate legislation restores benefits for more than 1 million participants who lost food assistance benefits on March 1st.

Some lawmakers complain that not enough disaster aid for Puerto Rico is moving forward and some monies are stalled from delivery. Various Congress amendments and actions seek to deliver more disaster aid for the debt-strapped US Territory.

“Aid that was promised by Congress needs to be urgently delivered to Puerto Rico,” stated LeCompte. "The promise from Congress to relieve Puerto Rico's debt must also be delivered."

In 2016 Congress passed emergency debt restructuring legislation for Puerto Rico. The legislation, PROMESA or Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, formed an oversight board for Puerto Rico, which is considering a new budget plan for Puerto Rico.