Members of Congress Warn Against Misuse of Disaster Aid

Five representatives and two senators sent a letter to the chairman of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) for Puerto Rico, José B. Carrión III, reminding him that the recently passed disaster supplemental funding should be used solely for recovery and rebuilding purposes. Various reports suggested that the Puerto Rico government may use federal funding to service the island’s debt, which “completely disregards the continued suffering on the Island,” the letter stated.  Following Congressional passage of additional disaster aid on February 8, the Puerto Rico government issued a new fiscal plan on February 12 that predicted the island would pay off its billions of dollars in debt much sooner than previous forecasts. Senators Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined Representatives Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) in warning that “none of the funding provided under the disaster supplemental be diverted to service Puerto Rico’s debt.”