Adams, Velazquez, McGovern Urge USDA to Expand Nutrition Assistance in Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma & Maria
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), and Jim McGovern (MA-2) – Ranking Member of the Nutrition Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee – sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting additional nutrition assistance for the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The members urged: 1) Providing additional flexibility in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program benefits, 2) Working with Congress to increase funding for food assistance programs, and 3) Increasing program assistance for mainland states providing refuge for evacuees to ensure these U.S. citizens have sustained access to food.
“For the 45 percent of Puerto Ricans living below the poverty line, access to nutrition assistance is a matter of life and death,” said Rep. Alma S. Adams (D-NC). “Following the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, increased aid is needed from the USDA to ensure families suffering from a lack of power, shelter, and running water can put food on the table. Reps. Velazquez, McGovern, and I are united in our call for additional assistance to ensure those affected receive proper nutrition during this time of recovery.”
“Hurricane Maria has visited a once-in-a-generation humanitarian crisis on Puerto Rico. We need to employ every tool in the federal toolbox to ensure we are channeling aid to 3.5 million American citizens who are enduring these dire conditions. USDA can play a critical role by utilizing its nutrition assistance programs to help families in need and I urge them to act swiftly on our recommendations,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).
“Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico need our help and this food assistance would help to save so many lives. I am proud to stand with Reps. Adams and Velazquez in calling for the USDA to do the right thing and ensure these families struggling to survive will have access to the food they need,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). “I urge our fellow members of Congress to join this call. Now is the time for action.”
Please find a copy of the letter attached here.
Congressman McGovern is the founder and co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus and Ranking Member of the Nutrition Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee, of which Rep. Adams is also a member.
Congresswoman Velazquez, one of the most outspoken Members of Congress calling for recovery assistance in Puerto Rico, is of Puerto Rican decent and has family who’ve been impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.