SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement commending additional funding for disaster relief proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“This relief package is a step in the right direction, but much more must be done to help Puerto Rico recover, rebuild and create a vibrant future for the island’s people. I’m in the middle of my third trip to Puerto Rico since the hurricane hit. I’ve talked to families who have been without power and safe drinking water for months. People are still living in destroyed homes. A year ago at this time, Old San Juan would have been packed and bustling with people. Today it is largely empty—a result of the slow pace of the recovery and the inadequacy of the federal response. And the tax bill that just passed will hurt the island even more. This level of relief funding is absolutely crucial for the people of Puerto Rico, as well as the Virgin Islands, and it must be followed up with a commitment by the federal government on a Marshall Plan-like agenda to invest in the island’s public schools and infrastructure, and to create an economy that benefits working people on the island.”