Ed Markey has a long and effective record protecting Puerto Ricans on the island and in Massachusetts. He knows the island’s residents have been treated as second-class citizens for decades and is fighting to rectify this. Puerto Ricans deserve to be treated equally by the federal government and should have the right to make decisions about their fate, which is why Ed wholeheartedly supports self-determination for the island. He has also advocated for the necessary relief Puerto Rico needs to recover from natural disasters, and cancelling the debt to allow the island a sustainable pathway to economic stability.
Ed voted against the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which imposes an unelected, fiscal oversight board, unconscionable austerity measures, and largely usurps Puerto Ricans’ role in shaping the framework of their own financial recovery. Ed met with Puerto Rican advocates and elected officials to better understand their positions on PROMESA. Those conversations, and the union values he learned at his kitchen table, informed his vote. Because Ed firmly believes PROMESA does more harm than good and should be repealed, he became an original cosponsor of the U.S. Territorial Relief Act of 2018, which would allow the cancelation of the island’s debt. After Hurricane Maria, Ed also joined Senate Democratic colleagues in demanding the Fiscal Oversight Board suspend its austere Fiscal Plan.
Ed has worked tirelessly to support and elevate the voices of Puerto Ricans in the wake of natural disasters, especially after Donald Trump’s negligence. In January 2020, he sat down with local Puerto Rican leaders and elected officials in Springfield to discuss the federal government’s response to the earthquakes that rocked the island that month. Ed also supported the island’s request for a major disaster declaration, and advocated for it to be extended in response to the aftershocks in May.
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After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Ed visited the island with members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to survey the damage. Senator Markey acted swiftly, joining lawmakers in repeatedly demanding an accurate count of the fatalities that resulted from Hurricane Maria and its aftermath.
Ed also voted for a $36.5 billion relief package that included critical funding for Puerto Rico in the wake of the storms, and later continued to demand the Trump administration release the $18 billion dollars in aid they withheld from the island. Senator Markey also pledged to find a long-term housing solution for displaced storm survivors, which is why he introduced the Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act of 2018.
Ed understands Puerto Ricans are living on the frontlines of climate change and that devastating hurricanes will likely become more frequent. That is why he is an original cosponsor of the National Commission on the Federal Response to Natural Disasters in Puerto Rico Act of 2019, which establishes a commission to investigate the federal government’s management of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Senator Markey has also fought to ensure Puerto Ricans looking to evacuate in natural disasters could do so safely and affordably. Before Hurricane Irma made landfall in September 2017, he and Senator Richard Blumenthal demanded airlines halt price gouging. In January 2020, after Puerto Rico was rattled by a string of powerful earthquakes, Ed again joined lawmakers to advocate for consumers and condemn skyrocketing flight prices.
Ed is constantly battling Donald Trump’s bigotry and has pushed for the federal government to give Puerto Ricans equal treatment. That is why he introduced legislation to prevent the president from diverting aid appropriated for the island to build his racist border wall, and co-sponsored a bill that would allow Puerto Ricans to receive equal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.