On October 3, 2017, the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) sent a letter to Mitchell McConnell, Majority Leader of the Senate, Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Charles Schumer, Minority Leader of the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives.
In the letter, the FOMB urges Congress to help Puerto Rico and do everything that is possible to help respond and recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria. Also, the letter outlines the main categories that Congress needs to address for the disaster response and liquidity needs.
The letter includes the following statement: “[T]he FOMB urges Congress to heed the Governor’s calls for the maximum federal assistance to Puerto Rico to help it respond to and to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This federal assistance should come in the form of grants and reimbursements to assist Puerto Rico in responding to the catastrophic damage it has suffered, and pursuant to an emergency liquidity program, low-interest loans to assist Puerto Rico in responding to its cash-flow deficiencies. Failure to provide the greatest amount of federal aid and the emergency liquidity program will be potentially ruinous.”
The main categories that he Board requests are the following:
- Maximum amount of federal assistance
- Access to an emergency liquidity program
- Parity treatment for Medicaid funding
- Waivers of caps and local share requirements for federal assistance
Of the federal assistance programs that have caps and local share requirements, the Board specifies the following programs:
- Community Disaster Loans Cap
- Waiver of the Cost Share for the Public Assistance program
- Housing Assistance Waivers
- Mortgage and Rental Assistance Program
- Other Needs Assistance Funding
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
- Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery
- Access to additional Federal Disaster Relief Programs
- Department of Transportation Emergency Relief program
- Department of Labor Workforce Reinvestment Act, National Emergency Grants.
- Department of Commerce Economic Adjustment Assistance
The Board closes out the letter with the following statement: “United States citizens have been devastated by the likes of a natural disaster the Island has not experienced in a century. We must do all that we can to help Puerto Rico avert a tragedy of historic proportions.”
A copy of the letter can be viewed by clicking here.