The House Appropriations Committee unveiled on January 16, a supplemental Bipartisan Budget Act bill authored by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) to provide emergency assistance to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of a series of earthquakes. The bill would provide $3.35 billion in recovery funding for the territory, including $2 billion of CDBG-DR funding. An additional $1.25 billion would be for repairs to road systems, and $100 million for meeting the education needs of people impacted. This emergency disaster supplemental is the result of the tireless work of Puerto Rican advocates, including the Puerto Rico Working Group of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition.
The bill also contains the following measures:
- The bill allows past CDBG-DR allocations to be used in combination with these funds.
- The bill requires the HUD Secretary to complete consultation with other federal agencies within 30 days in order to issue a Federal Register notice within 60 days governing the use of $2 billion in CDBG-DR funds earmarked in the February 2, 2018 disaster relief supplemental appropriations act for enhancing or improving the electrical power grids of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- The bill requires the HUD Secretary to execute grant agreements within 60 days of grant approval. This applies retroactively to past supplementals as well.
The deadlines pertaining to past appropriations provisions included in this supplemental are taken directly from the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, which passed the House late last year and is currently in the Senate, sponsored by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Todd Young (R-IN).
The text of the supplemental Bipartisan Budget Act is at: https://bit.ly/2uWGXzL
A synopsis of the bill is at: https://bit.ly/2FY5qXV
A fact sheet on about the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act is at: https://bit.ly/2tjAOgO