Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] to urge Rep. [___] to immediately pass a hurricane relief package for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, including waivers for both the Jones Act and the Federal Matching Requirements.
More script if you want it: It is inexcusable for the federal government to not take swift protective action when millions of Americans are in the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis.
Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Other Rep Contacts: http://www.phoneyourrep.com
Things we can do:
Sign a petition to the Dept. of Homeland Security and Trump to waive the Jones Act for relief to Puerto Rico. This act prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Goods must be dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flag ships. This makes everything more expensive, and now, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act to relieve PR, but the waiver expired last night on September 22, 2017.
Sign the petition here.
Aid to Puerto Rico (photos):
- Unidos por PR: volunteer-run non-profit; all proceeds go to helping Puerto Ricans rebuild their homes
- Ciencia PR: Donate to scientists in Puerto Rico
- For other ways to help — supporting animal shelters, volunteer opportunities, donation drives — check out Cenadores PR’s suggestions here: Los Ambulantes
- Support for Cayo Santiago (aka Monkey Island): thousands of rhesus macaques live on this little island, and researchers at the Caribbean Primate Research Center study them — but the area has been devastated. This fundraiser is for employees who lost their homes and to rebuild the research center. (Ed Yong wrote about it here.)
- United for Puerto Rico (a project led by the First Lady of Puerto Rico)
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos” page
- Our former presidents have expanded the One America Appeal – so it now includes Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
- All Hands Volunteers
- Catholic Relief Services
- Direct Relief
- Save the Children, which focuses specifically on the needs of families and their children.
- Global Giving has a $2 million goal for victims of Hurricane Maria
Aid specifically to the US Virgin Islands:
Aid to central Mexico (photos):
- Topos rescue brigade: an independent volunteer group performing rescues
- Project Paz, an NYC-based non-profit for Latino children, and the El Paso Community Foundation, a southwest-based non-profit, are collecting funds to earthquake victims
This just in: The heat index in Puerto Rico reached 109 degrees, 3.4 million Americans are without power and running out of food and water
Temporary Jones Act Waiver
The Marine Merchant Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans.
The island is now facing an unprecedented uphill battle to rebuild its homes, businesses and communities. Temporarily loosening these requirements – for the express purpose of disaster recovery – will allow Puerto Rico to have more access to the oil needed for its power plants, food, medicines, clothing, and building supplies. Therefore, we request the Department of Homeland Security to provide a one-year comprehensive waiver of the Jones Act requirements for Puerto Rico.
Waiver of Federal Matching Requirements
As you know, federal regulation requires FEMA to enter into cost-sharing agreements for recovery programs. However, Puerto Rico’s current economic conditions have already pushed the local government’s financial resources to the breaking point. Requiring cost-sharing during this critical time could take local resources away from providing the essential services many citizens need.
(5Calls) Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the rest of the Caribbean have been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Since Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island lost 100% of its power and electricity (authorities say it could take half a year to restore it), and residents are quickly running out of food and clean water. Lines to get gasoline have stretched for miles, hospitals are destroyed, and cell reception has been unreliable as people try to locate their loved ones. Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and farms have sustained unprecedented damage. Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González remarked, “The devastation has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years.” The recent hurricanes have killed at least 10 people in Puerto Rico and 31 across the Caribbean, and the death toll is expected to rise as lines of communication slowly reopen.
While some federal aid has begun to reach Puerto Rico, residents and officials worry that it will only provide short-term relief inadequate for the decades of recovery that it will need. Although Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are US territories, the White House has signaled that it will not request relief funding from Congress until the first or second week of October— a notably slower timeline than the relief process for Texas and Florida. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are home to over 3.5 million US citizens, but these territories’ citizens lack voting representation in Congress and a voice in our government. Congress must act now to pass a robust relief package to protect the lives of these Americans in the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis.
(Robert Reich) Trump’s patriotism is highly selective. Puerto Rico – which is part of the United States — is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria, as the island’s 3.4 million people struggle to survive without power or clean water. Officials estimate the island could be without power for up to six months.
But today the Trump administration denied a request to waive shipping restrictions in order to help get gasoline and other supplies to the island. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) refused to waive the Jones Act, which limits shipping between coasts to U.S.-flagged vessels — although DHS waived the act following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the mainland U.S.
This means the people of Puerto Rico – who are American citizens – will have to pay at least twice as much for food, clean drinking water, supplies and infrastructure. For Trump, patriotism means belittling football players rather than coming to the aid of Americans in dire need.