“We are concerned that Puerto Rico will have difficulty covering the 25% local match, which could delay access to federal assistance for removing debris and making emergency repairs to public facilities and infrastructure.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington (September 22, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today joined his colleagues led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in sending a letter to President Biden asking to waive any local cost-share for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid to Puerto Rico. 

On September 18, 2022, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico, cutting off power to the entire island and leaving many areas under water. That same day, President Biden approved an emergency declaration to authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA to work in coordination on disaster relief efforts. Public Assistance grants issued by FEMA come with a requirement that states and territories shoulder a share of the cost of recovery.  While these cost-share requirements can be adjusted to lighten the state or territory’s burden, this has not yet been done for Puerto Rico. 

“In light of the continued concerning news about the devastation the hurricane has wrought on the island, which has prompted Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi to announce his request for a Major Disaster Declaration for all of Puerto Rico’s municipalities, as well as the ongoing economic challenges faced by the island, we write to urge you to waive the local cost-sharing requirements by setting the federal cost-share at 100% for Public Assistance grants issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Puerto Rico,” wrote the lawmakers.

Joining Senator Markey in signing the letter led by Senator Warren are Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).