WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives today approved emergency legislation championed by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., that would help Puerto Rico families and communities recover from the ongoing earthquakes that have affected the island. The bill would provide funds to repair damaged roads, homes, schools, and electric power infrastructure in Puerto Rico, and includes strict provisions to ensure funds are used in a fully transparent and accountable way. As a result of Murphy’s advocacy, the bill also contains up to $100 million to help schools and colleges in Florida and other states that enroll displaced students from the island. Last month, Murphy led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Puerto Rico to assess the earthquake damage and speak firsthand with affected residents.
“I support true equality for the American citizens of Puerto Rico, and that includes equal treatment from the federal government after a natural disaster. When I was in Puerto Rico, I saw thousands of residents whose lives have been upended by these earthquakes. Every dollar is critical—and every dollar must be accounted for and reach the Puerto Rico residents who need it most,” said Murphy. “I’m proud the House has approved this bill to help the island recover and rebuild. I hope the Senate will swiftly consider this legislation, and that Florida’s two Senators will support it.”
Murphy represents more individuals of Puerto Rican heritage than nearly any other Member of Congress, and she has prioritized supporting Puerto Ricans living in both Puerto Rico and central Florida. For example, she helped introduce bipartisan legislation creating a pathway for Puerto Rico to become a state. Murphy has also led the fight for more equitable treatment of Puerto Rico in the areas of health, economic development, and disaster relief. Finally, she spearheaded a successful bipartisan effort to support Florida schools that enrolled displaced students from Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Thanks to that displaced student initiative, K-12 schools in Florida received nearly $100 million, and colleges in Murphy’s district received over $3 million.