Press Release ● Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
For Immediate Release: 
February 16, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
SAN JUAN, PR — House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference in Puerto Rico during the Congressional delegation visit he is leading to survey damage from recent earthquakes, receive briefings on the ongoing recovery efforts, and meet with displaced individuals and families. He was joined by Chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Below is a transcript of his remarks: 
 
“I am joined by two very senior Members of the United States and one new Member, a daughter of Puerto Rico, and one of our best-known Members in the Congress of the United States.

“On my right is Carolyn Maloney, who is Chair of the Oversight Committee and former Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and Member of the Financial Services Committee. In all those capacities, a very strong supporter of Puerto Rico and a very important Member in the Congress of the United States.
 
“On my left is someone who needs no introduction on Puerto Rican television, another daughter of Puerto Rico, born in Puerto Rico, and the first Latina elected to the Congress of the United States, who is also a member of the Financial Services Committee, Chair of the Small Business Committee, and is as strong, as frequent, as passionate a voice for the people of Puerto Rico, our fellow citizens here, as anybody in the Congress of the United States. I am so honored to work with her and to have her here with us.
 
“As I said, a new Member of Congress, but certainly not new to the people of Puerto Rico or to the issues that confront… the Puerto Rican people, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“We were supposed to meet with the Governor. The Governor had a family emergency, a health emergency. Ironically, one of our Members, a Member from Louisiana, had a similar emergency, so he could not be here. A Republican Member of the Congress.
 
“We are here because of our great concern, our great concern... Congress of the United States has appropriated over $50 billion to respond to the crisis in infrastructure, human needs, housing, nutrition,  education, and transportation  — all of the issues, including water, sewer, and the electric grid.
 
“We come because we are frustrated. We come because, in many respects, we’re angry that we have taken substantive action that has not been implemented as quickly as should have been done. Whatever the blame, who’s ever at fault, whatever glitches there are that need to be resolved, we want to resolve.
 
“This is not about trying to blame people, it is about making sure that the people of Puerto Rico are put back in a position where they are no longer challenged by being homeless, by having nutrition shortage, by being unemployed.
 
“So that, we want to see a) action and b) we want to tell the people of Puerto Rico: we are with you, we hear you, you have extraordinary advocates on your behalf, not only those of us who are here but many who are not.
 
“I know I speak for Speaker Pelosi in saying that we want to make sure, after going home with having learned what we can learn... and we will be going to the south tomorrow, and we’re going to visit schools in Guánica and we’re going to talk to citizens who are there and we will be talking to displaced individuals.
 
“Frankly, we’re not going to be having any pictures. We want to meet with people just to hear from them. Not to expose them, not to use them as props, but because we are there to help make sure that our government, the United States government, the Puerto Rican government acts in a way that will give them the kind of relief, assistance, and help that they need and should have as our fellow Americans.”