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.
- Senator Markey voted against the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), because he firmly believes it does more harm than good by largely usurping Puerto Ricans’ role in shaping the framework of their own financial recovery. That is why Ed became an original cosponsor of the U.S. Territorial Relief Act of 2018, which would allow the cancelation of the island’s debt.
- In May 2020, Senator Markey cosponsored the Equitable Nutrition Assistance for the Territories Act of 2020 today to ensure that in the face of the economic, public health, and food insecurity crises posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the people of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa receive equal access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- On May 5, 2020, Senator Markey and colleagues sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supporting the Governor of Puerto Rico’s request to extend the incident period for the already granted major disaster declaration in response to the 6.4-magnitude earthquake on January 7, DR-4472, to include the aftershocks that occurred on May 2nd.
- In January 2020, in a letter to President Trump, Senator Markey joined 33 other Senate Democrats to express strong support for Puerto Rico’s request for a major disaster declaration for the widespread damage caused by the powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake on January 7, and the hundreds of preceding and subsequent aftershocks that struck the island starting late on December 28.
- Senator Edward J. Markey, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Richard Blumenthal called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to update Congress on what actions it has taken, or plans to take, to investigate and address surging airline prices for Puerto Rican emergency evacuees seeking safety.
- He also held a roundtable discussion in Springfield with local Puerto Rican leaders and elected officials to discuss the federal government response to the earthquakes and the desperate need for the Trump administration to release the aid it was withholding since Hurricane Maria.
- In January 2019, Senator Markey co sponsored the National Commission on the Federal Response to Natural Disasters in Puerto Rico Act of 2019, which establishes a commission to examine the federal preparedness, response, and recovery activities with respect to the 2017 natural disasters in Puerto Rico.
- In February 2019, Senator Markey introduced with fellow Senate colleagues the Protecting Disaster Relief Funds Act to prevent Donald Trump from using funds appropriated for disaster relief to fund the construction of a wall on our southern border.
- In September 2018, Senator Markey joined Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with 7 other Senate colleagues and twelve House colleagues, to send a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting information about fatalities in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath. The letter came after a study commissioned by the government of Puerto Rico found that there were an estimated 2,975 deaths resulting from Hurricane Maria. The lawmakers questioned FEMA Administrator Brock Long and HHS Secretary Alex Azar about their assessment of the study’s findings and what actions they planned to take in light of the new fatality count.
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- Senator Markey also cosponsored the U.S. Territorial Relief Act, introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, to provide an avenue to comprehensive debt relief for Puerto Rico and other disaster-ravaged U.S. territories so they can recover and rebuild with dignity. The U.S. Territorial Relief Act of 2018 gives territories the option to terminate their debt obligations if they meet certain stringent eligibility criteria.
- In June 2018, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey met with Puerto Rican families from Western Massachusetts and pledged to continue fighting for long-term housing solutions. Senator Markey also released a statement criticizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Senate Republicans for blocking the establishment of permanent housing assistance for victims of Hurricane Maria as the deadline for temporary housing assistance approached.
- In May 2018, Senator Markey and seven other senators announced the Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act of 2018, that would activate the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) to provide stable housing for survivors of major hurricanes. The senators introduced the legislation after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) refused to activate DHAP despite urgent need and requests from Members of Congress and from the Governor of Puerto Rico.
- In May 2018, Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Representatives Bill Keating, and John Garamendi announced the introduction of the Enhancing the Strength and Capacity of America’s Primary Evacuation Routes (ESCAPE) Act, legislation that dedicates $1 billion of federal resources to expand the capacity and improve the resilience of the nation’s evacuation routes. The ESCAPE Act will provide targeted federal assistance to communities seeking to protect their citizens and fortify their critical mass evacuation routes from the adverse impacts of climate change.
- In February 2018, Senator Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to Brock Long, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), requesting that FEMA allow Puerto Rico evacuees currently enrolled in the Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program to continue living in TSA shelters until March 20, 2018, regardless of whether FEMA determines that their homes in Puerto Rico are habitable.
- In January 2018, Senator Markey joined members of the MA congressional delegation on a trip to Puerto Rico to conduct oversight of Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. The delegation will survey the damage from Hurricane Maria, assess the work and resources necessary to help the island fully recover, and speak personally with residents and government officials to discuss how best to support the people of Puerto Rico.
- Senator Ed Markey also voted for a $36.5 billion funding package that included critical relief for Puerto Rico.
- In October 2017, Senator Ed Markey joined Senator Elizabeth Warren in urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure the accuracy of the official fatality count in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.