Washington - Democratic senators called on President Donald Trump yesterday to sign a Major Disaster declaration and for the federal government to fully fund the emergency measures following last week's earthquakes.
"We write in strong support of 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 which struck the island starting late on December 28," said 34 Democratic senators, including Senate minority leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), in a letter to President Trump.
Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) were among the Democratic senators who signed the letter to Trump.
With these Senate Democrats, there are now more 100 federal lawmakers who have asked Trump in several letters to issue a declaration that would allow residents of the most affected southern municipalities to apply for individual or family assistance, such as temporary housing.
Washington Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González also called for such a disaster declaration in a message on the floor. "Today, I speak on behalf of each and every one of my fellow citizens affected by the ongoing seismic activity in Puerto Rico," said González, one of those who have sent letters to Trump.
In an independent action, Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and Representatives Bennie Thompson (Mississippi) and Nydia Velázquez (New York) also asked President Trump for the federal government to finance 100 percent of the costs of the emergency measures taken in Puerto Rico after this month's earthquakes.
Under the current emergency declaration, the U.S. government is funding 75 percent of the cost of initiatives directed to saving lives, protecting lives and property, and ensuring public safety. The other 25 percent has to be covered by the island's government.
Unless Trump authorizes a funding increase and while waiting for a major disaster declaration, current FEMA emergency assistance is capped- so far - at $5 million.