Puerto Rico gov implores U.S. Senate to pass supplemental appropriations bill
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called on the U.S. Senate Thursday to approve, House Resolution 268, or the Supplemental Appropriations Act 2019, which includes recovery funds for Puerto Rico.
The bill provides $12.1 billion in supplemental appropriations for fiscal 2019, which ends Sept. 30, to several federal departments and agencies for expenses related to recent natural disasters.
The funding provided is designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits and other budget enforcement rules.
A provision would appropriate $600 million for the Agriculture Department to provide a grant to Puerto Rico for disaster nutrition assistance in response to presidentially declared major disasters and emergencies, such as Hurricane Maria.
“Puerto Rico must receive the federal resources necessary to sufficiently complete our recovery and reconstruction in a timely manner, and to assist the 3.2 million U.S. citizens who live on the island and are working each and every day to recover from the storm.
“I urge the U.S. Senate to pass H.R. 268, already approved in the House, which provides much-needed support to Puerto Rico to address critical infrastructure, education, nutritional, and housing needs on the island.
“In order for Puerto Rico’s recovery to be successful, we need federal investment that allows us to build back better. Anything less would be unacceptable,” Rosselló said in a statement.
The Office of Management and Budget recently issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing as “excessive and unnecessary” the grant of $600 million for Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program included in the House bill, which could help 230,000 new program participants.