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White House remains committed to Virgin Islands recovery

White House Sends Third Supplemental Appropriations Request for Disaster Assistance to Affected States and Territories; Asks for $44 Billion for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

Washington, D.C. The White House sent its third disaster request to Congress today (Friday, Nov. 17th), asking for $44 billion to aid recovery in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The request includes $25.2 billion for FEMA and Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster programs, $1.2 billion for emergency agricultural assistance, $1.2 billion for an emergency education fund, and $12 billion for Community Development Block Grant funds for flood mitigation projects.

The White House also announced that it would be sending a fourth major supplemental disaster bill to Congress at the end of the year after additional damage assessments are completed by federal agencies.

Governor Kenneth E. Mapp met with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney earlier in the day.

Vice President Pence and OMB Director Mulvaney both reaffirmed to Governor Mapp that the Virgin Islands would receive all of the federal resources needed to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, including funds to harden its infrastructure and make it essential facilities more resilient to withstand future storms.

White House remains committed to Virgin Islands recovery as Governor Kenneth E. Mapp meets with Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney
Governor Kenneth E. Mapp met with Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney on Friday.

Governor Mapp has submitted damage recovery estimates to OMB and to the Congress totaling $7.5 billion.

Director Mulvaney also affirmed that the Virgin Islands is eligible for funding for all the programs included in the supplemental request, noting that the supplemental request was not the final numbers for any of the affected States or Territories.

Director Mulvaney committed that funding for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico would also be included in the supplemental disaster bill sent to Congress at the end of the year, after FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers complete their damage assessments in both Territories.

Director Mulvaney said that it takes the Federal Government 60 days to assemble initial recovery cost estimates and up to 90 days to verify recovery numbers. He said that the supplemental included money for disaster response and initial recovery activities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but, because Hurricane Maria was more recent and federal assessment was ongoing, the additional disaster funding for areas affected by Maria will be included in the next supplemental at the end of the year after the assessments are complete.

Governor Mapp praised the Federal commitment to the Virgin Islands and other storm ravaged areas of the United States. “As I testified earlier in the week before the House and Senate hearings on disaster recovery, there is not country on earth that responds to the needs of its citizens better in the aftermath of a natural disaster than the United States,” Governor Mapp said.

“I have been given every assurance by the highest officials of our national government that we in the Virgin Islands will be provided all of the resources we need to not only recover, but to build back stronger and better,” said the Territory’s Chief Executive.

Governor Mapp has submitted detailed recovery estimates totaling $7.5 billion, which are being reviewed by the relevant federal agencies. Governor Mapp also said that the Territory’s disaster assessments are continually being updated by the Territory’s engineering and disaster recovery consultants.

The Chief Executive also said that the first tranches of the FEMA Community Disaster Loans were expected to be approved and funds released in the next few days.

During his Washington trip, Governor Mapp met with the Congressional Leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and key members of the House and Senate appropriations committees and tax-writing committees.

Governor Mapp also commended Delegate Stacey Plaskett for her efforts to secure Congressional support for the Territory’s recovery efforts and her accompanying the Governor on many of his meetings on the Hill. “The Delegate has been doing an excellent job in Washington advocating for our needs in the Territory and working with my recovery team,” Governor Mapp said.

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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