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Booker Travels to Puerto Rico

After meeting with Puerto Rican governor this week in Washington, Booker is traveling to island to survey ongoing efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Maria

January 11, 2018

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is traveling to Puerto Rico to meet with officials, business leaders, and residents and see firsthand the conditions facing the 3.4 million American citizens on the island as they continue to recover and rebuild nearly four months after Hurricane Maria made landfall. Booker is making his trip ahead of the January 19 deadline for Congress to agree to a FY18 budget agreement and settle a number of issues, including a third emergency disaster relief bill for areas impacted by last year’s storms, including Puerto Rico.

Booker is en route to Puerto Rico today, and is expected to meet Friday with Mayor Carmen Yulín of San Juan, Dr. Rafael Rodriguez, Puerto Rico Secretary of Health, residents, and business leaders and will survey the damage to Puerto Rico’s electric grid, transportation infrastructure, homes, and businesses and the enormous challenges facing hospitals and the healthcare system.

Earlier this week, Booker met with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló in Washington to discuss the ongoing efforts to rebuild and the need for a more comprehensive supplemental disaster bill from Congress, including immediate Medicaid funding support before Puerto Rico runs out of funds as early as next month.

We know in New Jersey just how long the road to recovery after a storm can be, but the reported conditions still facing our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico—a lack of electricity, of clean water, of access to medical care— are unfathomable and simply unacceptable four months after a storm,” said Booker.  “It is clear to me that Congress and President Trump need to be doing more to help Puerto Rico rebuild everything from its water infrastructure to its hospitals and schools. I am eager to hear firsthand from the people on the ground what they need to move forward.”

In September 2017, one week after Hurricane Maria,  Booker spoke out on the Senate floor on the need to address the impending humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Booker also joined his colleagues and sent a letter urging President Trump to act quickly to address the catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico.

In October 2017, Booker cosponsored a bill to eliminate Puerto Rico’s cap on Medicaid funding and joined in pressing FEMA to immediately greenlight federal funds for Puerto Rico to rebuild.

In November, Booker sent a letter pushing the Centers for Disease Control to deploy additional manpower to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

In December of last year Booker urged Senate leadership to bolster Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as part of a disaster relief package.