On March 22, the United States Senate passed a resolution marking the 6-month anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The resolution, titled “Marking the 6 month anniversary of the devastation of Puerto Rico and the united States Virgin Islands by Hurricane Maria,” explains facts surrounding the devastation of Hurricane Maria and concludes with support for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico – those who have chosen to move to a state as well as those who continue to live in the U.S. territory.
It’s customary for congressional resolutions to begin with a list of statements beginning with “Whereas.” The whereas clauses for this resolution began with a reminder that Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. territories on September 13th, reaching Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 miles per hour and continued with the observation that “[w]hereas, 6 months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico more than 120,000 people are still without electricity, and hundreds of thousands of people continue to lose power on a temporary basis[.]”
The resolution continued with additional points showing the severity of the continuing problems in the territories, including the fact that “tens of thousands” of people still are homeless, or are living in homes which would not generally be considered habitable in the United States. The uncertain death toll in Puerto Rico and the startling amount of debris still needing to be removed were also listed, along with the large numbers of people giving up on the possibility of a future in Puerto Rico and moving to the States.
The resolution goes on to point out the debt and healthcare crises, both of which caused severe problems in Puerto Rico before the hurricanes. Both these factors have made recovery more difficult.
In light of all these facts, the resolution concludes,
“Resolved, that the Senate pledges continued support to (A) the millions of citizens of the United States living in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and (B) to the citizens of the United States who have relocated from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland of the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.”
The resolution was introduced by Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Robert Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The resolution passed unanimously with no amendments on March 22, the same day it was introduced.