WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15) joined fellow Pennsylvania Representative Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) and sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, including requests for a federal cost sharing extension and an expeditious brief to Congress on relief efforts.

“Seventy thousand Puerto Ricans call Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District home, and this crisis has had a personal impact on many of them, including friends and loved ones, neighbors, and colleagues,” Dent said. “I am thankful that the federal government has already begun providing immediate relief to the people of Puerto Rico in the form of food, clothing, and shelter. I am also appreciative President Trump took the important and necessary step in waiving the Jones Act, which could have potentially limited the amount of supplies that could be rapidly shipped to Puerto Rico. It is my hope that Congress, the Trump Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security can continue to work together to provide necessary relief to those who have lost everything,” Dent added.

The letter specifically asks Acting Secretary Duke to extend current federal cost sharing from six months to a year. Additionally, Dent and Smucker request “that Congress be regularly briefed on the response to this disaster as soon as practicable.” Congressman Dent also sent similar letters, imploring immediate disaster relief action, to various members of House leadership, including Speaker Ryan.

“Puerto Rico is home to nearly 3.5 million Americans, and Hurricane Maria wrought destruction over the entire territory. In addition to massive power outages, the people of Puerto Rico are facing threats to public health and severe food and housing shortages. My colleagues and I have sent our thoughts and prayers as we stand with our fellow Americans, but we now have an opportunity and responsibility to assist in the territory’s rebuilding efforts following this terrible disaster,” Dent concluded.

A copy of the letter is attached.

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CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490