Senators Want to Know: Where Is Food Assistance for Puerto Rico?

Seven Democratic senators sent a letter to Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, asking for an explanation of the delay in disbursing funds for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico.

Signers of the letter included Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Congress appropriated $600 million in additional nutrition assistance funds in June, but the funds are not expected to reach Puerto Rico until September. SNAP (food stamp) payments have been reduced since funds ran short in March.

Nutrition Assistance in Puerto Rico: What it Means to be a Territory

“We are requesting information,” the Senators wrote, “as to why funds that Congress appropriated to respond to an emergency will take three months to reach the people of Puerto Rico.”

The letter asked several specific questions:

  • Has the USDA submitted  request to OMB to release the emergency funds? If not, why not?
  • Has the OMB released the funds to distribute to Puerto Rico? If not, why not?
  • Does the government in Puerto Rico need to submit to USDA a new disaster plan or an amendment to the existing disaster plan?

The senators requested a response “no later than” July 1st. The Sanders website has a press release about the letter but so far reports no response from the USDA or the OMB.

Puerto Rico relies heavily on imported food, and many families have suffered from food insecurity since Hurricane Maria. More than a million people receive nutrition assistance in Puerto Rico, and 670,000 had their benefits reduced in March.

Nutrition Assistance is Different in Puerto Rico

One Comment

Dennis Freytes

**Fairness-Equality for ALL, not just some!**
The US Federal Government should be the Servant of all the People; not the Master of some! Candidates-Elected Officials must be FAIR to US Puerto Ricans-US Veterans who are part of “WE THE PEOPLE”; should provide full Individual Civil Rights; Federal “consent of the governed”…as we guard against a “tyranny of a majority”! THUS, the MEDIA and Others should–
*ASK CANDIDATES-ELECTED OFFICIALS–
Are you for FAIRNESS-EQUALITY for ALL US Citizens or allow Federal undemocratic discrimination (since 1898) of fellow US Citizens-American Veterans (part of “We The People”) in the US Territory of Puerto Rico (with more US Citizens than 22 States); FIX by providing STATEHOOD or do a binding Non-Territorial Referendum: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (with or without PACT)?
**You can’t have it both ways; you are either for Equality or support or excuse Federal discrimination!

The facts are–US Territory of Puerto Rico has more US Citizens-American Veterans than 22 States, yet incongruently can’t vote for their US President nor have just representation in Congress nor Parity in Federal funds nor a permanent statutory US Citizenship (even if residing in a State)… as the Federal Government undemocratically controls US Citizens-American Veterans in the US Territory of Puerto Rico, per the old Territorial Clause (1787) and the Insular Cases (1901-1925+–based on closet racism and discrimination), until Today!

THE TIME IS NOW in our US Republic (governed by the People) with a “We the People” US Constitution in a Representative Democracy, under our US Flag (that represents all States and the People)—for EQUALITY!

United with truth, reason, courage, and Civic ACTION for the good of ALL—Family, Community, State or Territory, USA and Humanity! CHARGE!
(Dennis O. Freytes -Florida Veterans Hall of Fame)

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