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Senators Pou, Cruz-Perez, Ruiz

TRENTON – Senators M. Teresa Ruiz, Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Nellie Pou today issued the following statements in response to President Trump’s threat to pull assistance from Puerto Rico as conditions on the island continue to deteriorate in the wake of Hurricane Maria:

“The President’s threat to abandon Puerto Rico and the millions of Americans struggling to obtain the basic necessities for survival on the hurricane-ravaged island is inhumane and un-American,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “It’s been 22 days since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and more than 80 percent of the island remains in the dark. Thousands of people are living in shelters and entire communities are gone. Three weeks after the disaster, people are still boiling drinking water and there are threats of a health crisis at a time when nearly half of the hospitals are running on generators. Abandoning Puerto Rico when it is most in need is simply unacceptable. Congress must do everything it can to ensure the relief effort continues. The assistance FEMA and the federal government provide is of paramount importance for the reconstruction and recovery of the island and the health and safety of the 3.5 million Americans that live there. This is about saving lives.”

“When the President visited the island, there were 16 fatalities. Today, there are 44. Hurricane Maria devastated the island, but the conditions are now worsening. Recent rains have caused more flooding, and there are still areas where emergency responders have not reached hurricane victims because of collapsed roads and bridges. The crisis is escalating, and pulling FEMA and the National Guard from the island would be unfathomable. It will mean leaving Puerto Ricans for dead,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The people of Puerto Rico need help now more than ever. I am urging the President and our congressional representatives to make sure the residents are protected.”

“I read the President’s tweets this morning with sadness and disgust. President Trump pledged to be with the people of Texas and Florida for as long as it took to restore those communities, but for the people of Puerto Rico he expresses limits to his ‘generosity.’ We must make sure that all people living in areas ravaged by natural disasters get the aid they need – in Texas and Florida, and in California but also in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” Senator Nellie Pou (D-Bergen and Passaic). “The residents of Puerto Rico should not be treated as second-class citizens. In the United States of America, the federal government has a responsibility to all of its residents. Just as in other parts of the country, the relief effort must go on in Puerto Rico for as long as it takes.”

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