Senator Sanders Releases Recovery Legislation for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with six cosponsors in the Senate, recently introduced the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act. It is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Representatives Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), and Darren Soto (D-FL) will introduce a companion bill in the House.
The plan includes resources to repair and replace affordable housing, including $48 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds; $687 million in public housing capital and $41 million in public housing operating funds; $47.6 million Housing Choice Vouchers; $172 million in Choice Neighborhoods grants; $20.6 million for rural home repair grants; $100 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program dollars; $325 million in CDBG; and $250 million over five years for Community Development Financial Institutions.
The plan also includes $62 billion to help the debt-ridden Puerto Rican government; $51 billion for economic development; $27 billion for infrastructure; and more for education and environmental remediation. The bill prioritizes rebuilding the islands’ power grids for renewable energy. The bill also makes Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands eligible for the same Medicare and Medicaid benefits as the rest of America and rebuilds and improves the VA Hospital and Clinics in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.