On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) accompanied by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Gillibrand (D-NY), Warren (D-MA), and Markey (D-MA), Representatives Velazquez (D-NY), Plaskett (D-VI), and Soto (D-FL), held a news conference introducing a comprehensive plan to address the immediate humanitarian needs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and ensure that the islands are able to rebuild in a way that empowers them to thrive.
During the news conference, Sanders outlined the comprehensive legislation that will be introduced to facilitate the territories’ rebuilding efforts. The bill also addresses inequities in federal law that “has allowed the territories to fall behind in every measurable social and economic area.” Sanders stated that “we will stand with the American citizens of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and we will rebuild those islands better than before the disaster devastated them.”
Representative Velazquez (D-NY) stated that “the comprehensive legislation will pave the way and put forward a path to Puerto Rico’s recovery and rebuilding to invest in the infrastructure, power grid, and education for the future of our children.”
Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) emphasized: “The bill will also address Puerto Rico’s financial crisis,” adding that “it will help reduce Puerto Rico’s debt and give the government more access to liquidity.”
Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) noted that “the bill will help Puerto Rico to get the lights back on and build the grid to the 21st century standard they deserve.” He added that the bill will also address agriculture needs on the island and provide the necessary resources to rebuild for a stronger future.
Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) highlighted that “the historic devastating effects of this historic natural disaster, calls for historic national response.”
“This measure with the makings of a Marshall plan has the real hope of our honoring the obligation we owe to all Americans” added Blumenthal.
Senator Warren (D-MA) stated that “this bill is just, progressive, and allows the islands to thrive to rebuild bigger and better.”
“This bill treats the people of Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as fellow U.S. citizens who need our help” added Warren. Also, Warren highlighted that “Puerto Rico needs full debt relief, this is critical,” and that she will be working to introduce a debt relief bill soon.
Senator Markey (D-MA) focused on “the energy inside of the islands to ensure that there is a greater deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies throughout the distribution system.” Also, Markey added that solar energy should lead the islands into the change that they need. “This is a timely moment to introduce this bill, this is a moral choice that the American people need to make,” concluded Markey.
This legislation will be introduced in the Senate, with a similar bill being introduced in the House.