The Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing today, focused on the immediate financial need of both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the corresponding need for independent oversight of the expenditure of Federal funds.
The witnesses invited include:
- The Honorable Ricardo Rosselló Governor of Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico
- The Honorable Kenneth Mapp Governor of the United States Virgin Islands Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
“Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean on September 5 and September 19, 2017 respectively. The devastation caused by both was widely felt in the American territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands (“USVI”) and Puerto Rico. Two months later, both islands are still in the recovery process, with the majority of Puerto Rico without power, and the USVI struggling to reopen roads. In order for these territories to recover, Federal funding will be required. What is unknown, however, is the extent to which the islands will receive aid, and whether such aid will include an avenue for critical Federal oversight to ensure the funds are used for recovery efforts rather than debt service or other ancillary purposes. Therefore, the purpose of this hearing is to 1) analyze the financial needs of both territories, and 2) determine the need and form of appropriate Federal oversight.”