Provide Immediate Relief for Puerto Rico & USVI

Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the rest of the Caribbean have been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Since Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island lost 100% of its power and electricity (authorities say it could take half a year to restore it), and residents are quickly running out of food and clean water. Lines to get gasoline have stretched for miles, hospitals are destroyed, and cell reception has been unreliable as people try to locate their loved ones. Puerto Rico's infrastructure and farms have sustained unprecedented damage. Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González remarked, "The devastation has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years." The recent hurricanes have killed at least 10 people in Puerto Rico and 31 across the Caribbean, and the death toll is expected to rise as lines of communication slowly reopen. While some federal aid has begun to reach Puerto Rico, residents and officials worry that it will only provide short-term relief inadequate for the decades of recovery that it will need. Although Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are US territories, the White House has signaled that it will not request relief funding from Congress until the first or second week of October— a notably slower timeline than the relief process for Texas and Florida. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are home to over 3.5 million US citizens, but these territories' citizens lack voting representation in Congress and a voice in our government. Congress must act now to pass a robust relief package to protect the lives of these Americans in the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis."