WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) voted in support of H.R. 5687, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief and Puerto Rico Disaster Tax Relief Act that includes funding for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after a series of earthquakes have ravaged the island over the past several months. The emergency supplemental totals $4.67 billion and provides significant funding for disaster relief and long-term recovery, repairs to damaged road systems, disaster nutrition assistance, and strengthening the electric grid. Of note, this package includes over $100 million for educational needs including the restarting of school operations.
“Our friends and neighbors in Puerto Rico urgently need our help after being once again displaced from their homes, forced to rebuild flattened schools, and reconstruct critical roads and infrastructure,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “While this vote today is a first step, the recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria taught us that Congress needs to be vigilant about the actual dispersal of these lifesaving funds. I stand in support of all efforts to assist the island with disaster relief and rebuilding efforts.”
Disaster relief is of particular importance to Connecticut and Connecticut’s Fifth District. With more than 300,000 Puerto Rican residents, Connecticut has the sixth largest Puerto Rican population of any state in the country.
This week, Congresswoman Hayes joined Governor Lamont and the rest of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding the unprecedented restrictions the Department imposed on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for the disbursement of $8.285 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for disaster mitigation.
Congresswoman Hayes participated in a hearing held by the Committee on Education and Labor in 2019 entitled “This is Not a Drill: Education Related Response and Recovery in the Wake of Natural Disasters.” This hearing examined the federal response by Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to school communities impacted by natural disasters. Congresswoman Hayes discussed school reconstruction and reopening efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and how school districts in Connecticut were impacted by displaced Puerto Rican students relocating to the state.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year. Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.