Thanks to your efforts, as dawn broke in Washington, we won relief and recovery funds for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
For 6 months, you generated thousands of e-mails, phone calls and petitions to Congress and the White House. You met with your Members of Congress and organized 130 prayers services across the country for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
You asked Congress and the White House and they listened.
The new law includes $11 billion in recovery aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. There is over $2 billion to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid. There are rules in place to ensure that Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands can rebuild to withstand future storms. In addition, you campaigned for two years continually for Medicaid funding to protect Puerto Rico's poor and help Puerto Rico respond to its debt crisis. Your efforts secured nearly $5 billion in funds. The program was within weeks of running out of money and now has funding for years.
We are grateful that Congress and the White House worked with us to move forward relief. We also need to ask Congress to do more.
Please join us as we thank Congress for moving forward relief for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Join us as we invite Congress to do even more. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will need more recovery aid to fully rebuild. The US citizens on the islands still need to be able to access the same levels of healthcare and child tax benefits that US citizens can access in the States. Continuing to win these policies is essential to ending the debt crisis that continue in the post-hurricane world on the islands.
In the summer of 2015, Puerto Rico's religious leaders alerted the world to a financial crisis devastating their islands and harming the poor. In the years that followed Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez and Bible Society Head Reverend Heriberto Martinez continued to call for debt relief and for Congress to enact a fix to Medicaid for the poor on their island.
We, along with our national religious founders and partners, joined them in their calls. Our work together is not finished.
Together working with two different White Houses and Republican and Democratic leadership, we've achieved a lot. Together, we will do even more. Please join us as we thank Congress for acting and inviting them to do more.
Puerto Rico was ill-prepared before the hurricanes hit because of the island's debt crisis and austerity policies. Before the hurricanes nearly one in two kids lived in poverty. In a post-hurricane world, hundreds of thousands do not have electricity and suicide rates continue to soar. In the coming weeks, our efforts together, will be essential to ending the debt crisis and building a path forward that reduces child poverty and promotes economic growth.
Thanks for your efforts to make today's incredible success possible.
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