Press Releases

CBC Chairman Votes “No” on Disaster Supplemental Bill

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Washington, December 21, 2017 | comments

Today, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, voted “no” on the disaster supplemental bill for Texas, Florida, and U.S. territories because it does not do enough to help the U.S. Virgin Islands responsibly rebuild and recover. 

“When the federal government does not give states and territories the resources they need to responsibly rebuild and recover, it turns a natural disaster into a manmade one.

“While this bill provides some relief to the U.S. Virgin Islands, it fails to address the unique challenges the territory faces after being destroyed by two Category 5 hurricanes in the span of three weeks in addition to needing federal funds to operate Medicaid, the territory’s only hospital on St. Thomas Island was destroyed.

“Congress has previously provided additional federal funds to operate Medicaid for American citizens recovering from natural disasters on the mainland, and the American citizens in the U.S. Virgin Islands deserve no less. Additionally, the bill does not provide the U.S. Virgin Islands with cost-share waivers for rebuilding and recovry.

“The purpose of disaster recovery is to ensure the people most affected by a natural disaster get the help they need to get back on their feet and communities are stronger and better protected than before. This bill does not ensure this for the American citizens in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The good news is that the Senate agrees that this bill is insufficient. Hopefully, they will draft a better version that includes the resources the U.S. Virgin Islands so desperately needs.”  

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