ACTIONS

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFICIENCY FROM FEMA ON PUERTO RICO RELIEF ASSISTANCE

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to Hurricane María’s devastation in Puerto Rico has been painfully slow, inexplicably limited and mired in scandals. Call Representative Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, at 202-225-5074 and ask that he compel FEMA to turn over its records on Puerto Rico relief assistance.

Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

The people of Puerto Rico continue without electricity and access to basic services. We demand an adequate crisis management response, transparency and accountability from the Federal Government. I am calling to urgently ask that Chairman Trey Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel FEMA to produce documents relating to its failure to provide tens of millions of emergency meals to U.S. citizens who were victims of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico immediately after the storm.

BACKGROUND:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to Hurricane María’s devastation in Puerto Rico has been painfully slow, inexplicably small and mired in scandals that some attribute to blunders and others to deliberate neglect. To highlight a few:

  • Tribute Contracting LLC, a one-person company in Atlanta, was awarded a $156 million contract by FEMA on Oct. 3 to provide 30 million self-heating meals to Puerto Rico, but only followed through on 50,000. The contract was terminated by email on Oct. 19, after Tribute failed to meet a deadline of providing the first 18.5 million meals. This was the sixth government contract awarded to Tribute that had been canceled because of failure to deliver.
  • A newly created Florida company called Bronze Star LLC, with an unproven record, won more than $30 million in contracts from FEMA to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs. Bronze Star never delivered the supplies. FEMA eventually terminated the contracts, without paying any money, and re-started the process to supply more tarps for the island.
  • FEMA spokesperson, Delyris Aquino-Santiago, told NPR on January 29th that it would “officially shut off” its food and water mission on the island on Wednesday January 31st and hand its remaining food and water supplies over to the Puerto Rican government to finish distributing. This decision was reversed on Wednesday citing an error in communications.

On February 6, 2018 Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Committee Member Stacey E. Plaskett sent a letter requesting that Chairman Trey Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel FEMA to produce documents it has withheld for more than three months relating to its failure to provide tens of millions of emergency meals to U.S. citizens who were victims of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

Call Representative Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and ask that he compel FEMA to turn over its records on Puerto Rico relief assistance.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Democrats Demand Subpoena for Trump Administration’s Hurricane Response

EEC-Plaskett to Gowdy re.FEMA-Tribute Contracting

Contractor awarded $156 million to provide 30 million meals to Puerto Rico only delivered 50,000: report

AP EXCLUSIVE: Big contracts, no storm tarps for Puerto Rico

FEMA To End Food And Water Aid For Puerto Rico

WHY IS PUERTO RICO DISMANTLING ITS INSTITUTE OF STATISTICS? SIGN THE PETITION TO KEEP THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE

SIGN and SHARE the petition to urge the Governor and Legislature of Puerto Rico to support a well-funded and independent Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics.

Go to: Change.org http://chn.ge/2Fek4b0

The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS) is the only independent government agency in charge of generating reliable data —over 300 statistical data sets, methods, and results – for Puerto Rico.  As the island starts to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and as Congress debates disaster supplemental legislation, it is more critical now than ever that policymakers and the public at large have access to the most reliable data possible.

However, on January 18th, Governor Ricardo Rosselló and the Legislature of Puerto Rico proposed a government reorganization that would strip the PRIS from remaining independent of political and private interests, allowing for potential manipulation of the data it produces. Puerto Rico’s Senate President has announced the body will take up the legislation as early as Monday. Given the urgency, on February 2nd, fifteen Members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – expressed concern over the potential privatization of the PRIS.

To date, the PRIS has done a remarkable job to preserve the integrity of its data and maintain the operational efficiency of the Institute.  Ensuring its independence is of the utmost importance in providing greater transparency to the economic, financial and fiscal conditions on the island.

Thirteen months ago in Washington, D.C., the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico made the following recommendation, “The Task Force recommends that the government of Puerto Rico consider appropriating a level of funding to the PRIS that is commensurate with its important responsibilities. The Task Force also recommends that the Institute of Statistics continue to protect its independence (…).”

The American Statistical Association (ASA) has also weighed in: “Government statistics play a powerful role in any democracy. They empower the economy, serve the health and welfare of its citizens, improve governance, and inform decisions and policies in the public and private sector, among many other vital functions.”  Privatization efforts can potentially skew the objectivity of the data published by the government to one convenient for private entities.  For this reason, we ask you to sign and share this ASA petition, which sends a clear message to the government of Puerto Rico.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

ASAMBLEA LEGISLATIVA DE PUERTO RICO: PLAN DE REORGANIZACIÓN NÚM. 1 DEPARTAMENTO DE DESARROLLO ECONÓMICO Y COMERCIO

Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico: Report to the House and Senate

Letter to the Office of Management and Budget, re: PRIS Privatization Concerns

REQUEST FOR INPUT ON HOW TO STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY OF PUERTO RICO

ASK GOVERNOR ROSSELLÓ FOR TRANSPARENCY AT THE CENTRAL FLORIDA TOWN HALL

On Friday January 12, 2018, Governor Ricardo Rosselló will hold a Central Florida Town Hall to hear about ongoing recovery and reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Maria, and policy issues impacting the island. This is an opportunity to demand more transparency for Puerto Ricans who continue to be trapped by inaction on relief from crushing debt, insufficient disaster aid to rebuild, lack of economic development programs to keep jobs on the island, or inefficiency re-establishing power to families and business.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

SCRIPT:

Governor Rosselló, Puerto Ricans demand:
  1. Transparency, by live-streaming town hall meetings and taking questions from the virtual audience to ensure more Puerto Ricans can participate in the conversation
  2. Transparency, by making public his administration’s action plan for use of federal recovery funds and providing a public comment periodto ensure accountability
  3. Transparency, by communicating a concrete plan for restoring power, which is indispensable for families and businesses in the island

 

BACKGROUND:

We demand Governor Rosselló live-stream the town hall on Friday Jan 12 and take questions from the virtual audience to ensure more Puerto Ricans have a chance to participate:
In December 2017, after many attempts by the Government of Puerto Rico to lobby Congress for an exemption for Puerto Rico in the tax reform bill, the bill became law without addressing the adverse effects the law would have on the island. As a result, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced on January 2, 2018 that he is committed to organizing the Puerto Rican diaspora to pressure their Congressional representatives to do more for Puerto Rico or risk losing their vote in upcoming elections. Governor Rosselló will hold his first “organizing” town hall in Central Florida on January 12, 2018 to listen to the diaspora’s concerns about the recovery and others issues impacting the island.
We demand Governor Rosselló make public his administration’s action plan for the federal recovery funds that will be approved and provide a public comment period:
This is an opportunity to demand more transparency and action for Puerto Ricans who continue to be trapped by inaction on relief from crushing debt, disaster aid to rebuild and re-energize, economic development programs to keep jobs on the island, Medicaid funding or re-establishment of the power grid to all citizens.
We demand Governor Rosselló communicate a concrete plan for restoring power, which is indispensable for families and businesses in the island:
As of January 8, 2018, only 60 percent of Puerto Rico Energy Power Authority subscribers have power in their businesses or homes. Mayors – from both sides of the aisle – are demanding “clear and precise” information on when power will be restored in their municipalities. This information is crucial for government officials, families, and business to coordinate next steps.

MAKE PUERTO RICO A CONGRESSIONAL PRIORITY

Happy New Year, to everyone except the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico who continue to be trapped by Congressional inaction on relief from crushing debt, disaster aid to rebuild and re-energize, economic development programs to keep jobs on the island and Medicaid funding. Oh yeah, and for the power to come back after more than 100 days in the dark.
Puerto Rico cannot, and will not, wait any more. The 5 million voting Puerto Ricans and our friends and allies are the political driving force for real change and a sustainable recovery.
Will you help make Puerto Rico a Congressional priority in 2018?  If the 5 million Puerto Ricans in the United States don’t do it, no one else will.
Amidst the worst natural disaster in the island’s history, Puerto Rico has been left – once again – short-changed of a Federal response that may never come. The longstanding absence of policies to address the needs of the U.S. territories has left the island remarkably exposed. A look at the past couple of years shows us just how.
  • In 2015, the Governor of Puerto Rico declared the island’s colossal debt “unpayable” and acknowledged that his government faced recurrent defaults on its debt service. Relief from this crushing debt is still nowhere in sight.
  • In 2016, Congress responded by passing the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), a law that lacked the economic tools its name suggested. At the time of its passage, Congress insisted it would provide Puerto Rico with the necessary tools in “another law”. This has not occurred.
  • In April 2017, when Puerto Rico faced a Medicaid funding cliff, Congress provided the island with a short-term band-aid instead of structurally fixing the larger policy problems at hand. The Resident Commissioner’s office stated that Speaker Ryan assured her that legislators would address a permanent solution in September, when it would take up the S-CHIP bill. That has also not occurred.
  • In December 2017, the tax reform law passed and with it came more bad news for Puerto Rico. American manufacturing companies on the island will now pay a surtax on income from intellectual property that could result in a reduction of 30 percent of GDP and the loss of thousands of jobs. Again, Puerto Rico has been promised relief to the onerous provisions further down the line.
  • And as we welcome the new year, 50 percent of Puerto Rico’s residents are enduring over 100 days without power. Estimates from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say that it could be May or longer before some residents get to turn their lights back on. And so they wait- or leave.

 

Bottom line
Puerto Rico is always kicked down the road to a later date because it lacks the political leverage enjoyed by other Americans in the 50 U.S. states. Puerto Rico is not waiting for Congress to act. Residents are fleeing by the hundreds of thousands. Nonetheless, the 5 million voting Puerto Ricans and our friends and allies are the political driving force for real change and a sustainable recovery. Will you help make Puerto Rico a Congressional priority in 2018?
Take Action
  • Ask friends who support Puerto Rico to sign up for our 100 Days x Puerto Rico actions and follow the scripts
  • Share our Facebook and Twitter posts with friends #100DAYSxPUR to learn about our new actions as soon as they come out

TELL SENATOR RUBIO TO VOTE NO ON TAX REFORM BILL

Puerto Rico is set to become the world’s worst economy in 2018. Read that again. Puerto Rico is set to become the world’s worst economy in 2018. Our representatives in Congress did not exclude Puerto Rico from provisions in the tax reform bill that will force companies to leave the island, killing at least 250,000 jobs in the process.

Contact Sen. Marco Rubio and tell him to VOTE NO on the TAX REFORM BILL to safeguard jobs in Puerto Rico.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call Senator Marco Rubio’s office at 202-224-3041. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urge Senator Marco Rubio to vote no on the tax reform bill. If he can stand for the Child Tax Credit he can stand for jobs in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico must not be an afterthought. Currently, Puerto Rico is considered as foreign and thel tax bill imposes a 12.5 percent tax on income businesses generate from intellectual property.

Puerto Rico needs an exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan. Otherwise, experts project the Island could lose thousands of jobs. Puerto Rico is already on track to become the world’s worst economy in 2018 according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Puerto Rico’s battered economy cannot take this additional hit. The senator’s vote will be remembered.

Will Senator Marco Rubio protect jobs in Puerto Rico?

BACKGROUND:

There are about 50 firms in Puerto Rico that manufacture drug products and medical devices. These are high-skilled jobs that contribute to over 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product. Unfortunately, existing Federal tax reform legislation threatens to kill up to 250,000 jobs in the Island. Since approximately 80 percent of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods produced in Puerto Rico are consumed by U.S. citizens, the legislation affects the public health of all Americans.

The tax code treats Puerto Rico as foreign for tax purposes, meaning that corporations on the Island are treated as foreign corporations.

The tax bill being considered by the Senate imposes an excise tax on certain amounts paid by a U.S. corporation to certain related foreign corporations. Payments, other than interest, are subject to the new 20 percent excise tax. The payment is due on every purchase. This means that the excise tax applies when a parent corporation buys a good manufactured in Puerto Rico by its subsidiary located on Island. If a foreign corporation buys the same product from a domestic (mainland) subsidiary, the excise tax does not apply.

This is not a provision specifically targeting Puerto Rico. However, it negatively impacts the Island because the U.S. tax code treats Puerto Rico’s corporations as foreign corporations.

Puerto Rico needs either special exemption from these rules, a reduced rate, or some other specially designed treatment to incorporate them as domestic corporations into the tax code.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Puerto Rico is set to become the world’s worst economy next year

Congress should help Puerto Rico — not hurt it

Sin Luz – Life Without Power

CALL MEMBERS OF THE TAX REFORM CONGRESSIONAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE TO ADVOCATE FOR PUERTO RICO

American jobs in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are threatened by the tax reform bill passed by Congress, which is currently being harmonized in a conference committee. The future of at least 250,000 jobs in Puerto Rico continues to be at risk.

Contact members of the tax reform congressional conference committee and urge them to treat corporations in Puerto Rico and other territories as domestic for tax purposes. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to safeguard its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call members of the tax reform congressional conference committee

Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251
Sen. Pat Toomey (202) 224-4254
Congressman Kevin Brady (202) 225-4901
Congressman Peter Roskam (202) 225-4561

Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [NAME] safeguard jobs in Puerto Rico by treating the island as domestic for tax purposes in the proposed tax reform bill. Currently, Puerto Rico is considered as foreign and the tax bill imposes a 20 percent excise tax to foreign corporations. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan. Otherwise, experts project the Island could lose up to 250 thousand jobs. Since approximately 80 percent of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods produced in Puerto Rico are consumed by U.S. citizens, the legislation affects all Americans. The stakes are just too high to ignore.

Will [NAME] support treating Puerto Rico as a domestic jurisdiction in the US tax code?

BACKGROUND:

The tax reform bill will deal a lethal hand to Puerto Rico, just two months days after the Island has gone through the worst natural disaster in almost 90 years.

Puerto Rico’s economy was on stilts prior to Maria. For many years, pharmaceutical manufacturing was the island’s powerhouse. After Congress repealed tax incentives that were created to attract outside investment, the economy started shrinking. It has been in that downward spiral since 2006.

As Congress deliberates how to keep companies from offshoring jobs to jurisdictions of lower corporate tax rates, it included a protectionist provision to keep jobs in “America”. U.S. territories not included.

Puerto Rico, for tax purposes, is treated as foreign. Therefore, companies established there – many of them American – are also treated as foreign and now face a new 20% excise tax on shipments to the U.S. Simply put, corporations will have no incentive to stay in the hurricane-stricken island, although Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S.

Experts predict that this move could translate to an exodus of 250,000 jobs and a hemorrhagic loss of 30 percent of its GDP.

Under the Senate version, the excise tax is not considered, but it will impose other heavy taxes on intellectual property – a blow to pharmaceuticals that remain competitive largely because of their patents.

Puerto Rico needs either special exemption from these rules, a reduced rate, or some other specially designed treatment to incorporate them as domestic corporations into the tax code.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico
The Republican tax bill will cut thousands of Puerto Rico jobs

DONATE TO HELP PUERTO RICAN SCIENCE STUDENTS REBUILD PUERTO RICO

Want to help Puerto Rico’s long term economic development but don’t know how? Support the scientific community through CienciaPR.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Visit bit.ly/ScienceRebuildsPR to donate to CienciaPR and support science to rebuild and empower Puerto Rico.

BACKGROUND:

Science education in Puerto Rico is failing, a challenge that was made worse by Hurricane Maria. In 2016, only 4 in 10 eighth grade public school students were proficient in science and Puerto Rico is among the 10 worst performers in international science tests (64 of 70).

The crisis created by Maria has underscored the urgent need—and presented new opportunities—for an overhaul of how science is taught in Puerto Rican schools to support the next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Before hurricanes Irma and Maria, the non-profit CienciaPR was already developing a strategy to transform science education in PR, and recent events have inspired the organization to move forward. In the near term, CienciaPR is launching a pilot project that will train educators to implement four science lessons in disaster-related topics (renewable energy, environmental sustainability, clean and potable water, and terrestrial ecosystems) and provide them with low-cost educational and research materials.

In the long-term CienciaPR is bringing together scientists and educators to create middle school science lessons that foster creativity, resilience, entrepreneurship, and the development of problem-solving skills, to empower Puerto Rican students to use science to serve their communities.

The entire initiative focuses on bringing the process if science and discovery to classrooms in ways that are culturally and socially relevant to students. CienciaPR’s long-term vision is to promote a culture of science, critical thinking and problem-solving in Puerto Rico.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Ciencia Puerto Rico
Ciencia Puerto Rico 2017 – 2027 Strategic Plan
Scientists, Educators and Students Co-creating to rebuild Puerto Rico
Informe de Resultados META-PR 2015-2016
PISA Resultados Clave

URGE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TO TREAT U.S. TERRITORIES EQUALLY TO PROTECT AMERICAN JOBS

American jobs in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are threatened by the tax reform bill approved last week by the Senate and currently being harmonized in a congressional conference committee. The future of at least 250,000 jobs in Puerto Rico is at risk.

Contact congressional leadership now and urge them to treat corporations in Puerto Rico and other territories as domestic for tax purposes. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call Sen. Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541, Congressman Paul Ryan (202) 225-3031, Sen. Chuck Schumer (202) 224-6542, and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (202) 225-4965. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [NAME] safeguard jobs in Puerto Rico by treating the island as domestic for tax purposes in the proposed tax reform bill. Currently, Puerto Rico is considered as foreign and the tax bill imposes a 20 percent excise tax to foreign corporations. Thus, this new tax applies to corporations established in the Island. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan. Otherwise, experts project the Island could lose up to 250 thousand jobs. Since approximately 80 percent of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods produced in Puerto Rico are consumed by U.S. citizens, the legislation affects all Americans. The stakes are just too high to ignore.

Will [YOUR SENATOR’S NAME] publicly support treating Puerto Rico as a domestic in jurisdiction in the US tax code?

BACKGROUND:

This bill will deal a lethal hand to Puerto Rico, just two months days after the Island has gone through the worst natural disaster in almost 90 years.

Puerto Rico’s economy was on stilts prior to Maria. For many years, pharmaceutical manufacturing was the island’s powerhouse. After Congress repealed tax incentives that were created to attract outside investment, the economy started shrinking. It has been in that downward spiral since 2006.

As Congress deliberates how to keep companies from offshoring jobs to jurisdictions of lower corporate tax rates, it included a protectionist provision to keep jobs in “America”. U.S. territories not included.

Puerto Rico, for tax purposes, is treated as foreign. Therefore, companies established there – many of them American – are also treated as foreign and now face a new 20% excise tax on shipments to the U.S. Simply put, corporations will have no incentive to stay in the hurricane-stricken island, although Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S.

Experts predict that this move could translate to an exodus of 250,000 jobs and a hemorrhagic loss of 30 percent of its GDP.

Under the Senate version, the excise tax is not considered, but it will impose other heavy taxes on intellectual property – a blow to pharmaceuticals that remain competitive largely because of their patents.

Puerto Rico needs either special exemption from these rules, a reduced rate, or some other specially designed treatment to incorporate them as domestic corporations into the tax code.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

The Republican tax bill will cut thousands of Puerto Rico jobs
Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico

URGE SEN. MARCO RUBIO TO SUPPORT TAX REFORM AMENDMENT #1768

Puerto Rico’s economy is severely threatened by the proposed tax reform bill being considered TODAY in the Senate. The future of at least 250,000 jobs on the island is at risk.

Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Robert Menendez have proposed Amendment #1768 to exclude Puerto Rico from a 20% excise tax to foreign corporations.

Contact Sen. Marco Rubio and urge him to SUPPORT this amendment to safeguard jobs in Puerto Rico.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call Senator Marco Rubio’s office at 202-224-3041. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urge Senator Marco Rubio to support tax reform Amendment #1768. This would safeguard jobs in Puerto Rico by treating the island as domestic for tax purposes in the proposed tax reform bill. Currently, Puerto Rico is considered as foreign and the tax bill imposes a 20 percent excise tax to foreign corporations. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan. Otherwise, experts project the Island could lose up to 250 thousand jobs.

Will Senator Marco Rubio publicly support tax reform Amendment #1768?”

BACKGROUND:

There are about 50 firms in Puerto Rico that manufacture drug products and medical devices. These are high-skilled jobs that contribute to over 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product. Unfortunately, existing Federal tax reform legislation threatens to kill up to 250,000 jobs in the Island. Since approximately 80 percent of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods produced in Puerto Rico are consumed by U.S. citizens, the legislation affects the public health of all Americans.

The tax code treats Puerto Rico as foreign for tax purposes, meaning that corporations on the Island are treated as foreign corporations.

The tax bill being considered by the Senate imposes an excise tax on certain amounts paid by a U.S. corporation to certain related foreign corporations. Payments, other than interest, are subject to the new 20 percent excise tax. The payment is due on every purchase. This means that the excise tax applies when a parent corporation buys a good manufactured in Puerto Rico by its subsidiary located on Island. If a foreign corporation buys the same product from a domestic (mainland) subsidiary, the excise tax does not apply.

This is not a provision specifically targeting Puerto Rico. However, it negatively impacts the Island because the U.S. tax code treats Puerto Rico’s corporations as foreign corporations.

Puerto Rico needs either special exemption from these rules, a reduced rate, or some other specially designed treatment to incorporate them as domestic corporations into the tax code.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

GOP Tax Plan Would Batter Puerto Rico’s Economic Backbone

The Republican tax bill will cut thousands of Puerto Rico jobs

REQUEST CONGRESS SAFEGUARD JOBS IN PUERTO RICO

Puerto Rico’s economy is severely threatened by the proposed tax reform bill being considered in the Senate. The future of at least 250,000 jobs on the island is at risk. Contact your Senators to request they treat corporations in Puerto Rico as a domestic jurisdiction for tax purposes. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators and Representative. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Or find your Member of Congress here

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR /REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] safeguard jobs in Puerto Rico by treating the island as domestic for tax purposes in the proposed tax reform bill. Currently, Puerto Rico is considered as foreign and the tax bill imposes a 20 percent excise tax to foreign corporations. Thus, this new tax applies to corporations established in the Island. Puerto Rico needs special exemption from these rules to protect its already weak economy and to be able to implement a successful economic development plan. Otherwise, experts project the Island could lose up to 250 thousand jobs. Since approximately 80 percent of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods produced in Puerto Rico are consumed by U.S. citizens, the legislation affects all Americans. The stakes are just too high to ignore.
Will [YOUR SENATOR’S NAME] publicly support treating Puerto Rico as a domestic in jurisdiction in the US tax code?

 

BACKGROUND:

There are about 50 firms in Puerto Rico that manufacture drug products and medical devices. These are high-skilled jobs that contribute to over 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product. Unfortunately, existing Federal tax reform legislation threatens to kill up to 250,000 jobs in the Island. Since approximately 80 percent of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods produced in Puerto Rico are consumed by U.S. citizens, the legislation affects the public health of all Americans.
The tax code treats Puerto Rico as foreign for tax purposes, meaning that corporations on the Island are treated as foreign corporations.
The tax bill being considered by the Senate imposes an excise tax on certain amounts paid by a U.S. corporation to certain related foreign corporations. Payments, other than interest, are subject to the new 20 percent excise tax. The payment is due on every purchase. This means that the excise tax applies when a parent corporation buys a good manufactured in Puerto Rico by its subsidiary located on Island. If a foreign corporation buys the same product from a domestic (mainland) subsidiary, the excise tax does not apply.
This is not a provision specifically targeting Puerto Rico. However, it negatively impacts the Island because the U.S. tax code treats Puerto Rico’s corporations as foreign corporations.
Puerto Rico needs either special exemption from these rules, a reduced rate, or some other specially designed treatment to incorporate them as domestic corporations into the tax code.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

GOP Tax Plan Would Batter Puerto Rico’s Economic Backbone The Republican tax bill will cut thousands of Puerto Rico jobs

ORGANIZE LOCALLY

Change starts with one idea and the courage to pursue it. If you are heading to Washington, DC this weekend to participate in the Puerto Rican Diaspora Summit (Saturday) and the Unity March for Puerto Rico (Sunday) or organizing an event in your community, download and print these posters (18”x24”) at your local office supply store or share these images on social media. Together let’s take action for Puerto Rico.

Tag us @100DAYSXPUR

Use this artwork to encourage others to speak up and take action for Puerto Rico.

WE CARE.

WE VOTE.

WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN.

REQUEST THAT CONGRESS EXPAND THE CHILD TAX CREDIT & EXTEND THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT TO RESIDENTS OF PUERTO RICO

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators and Representative. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

Or find your Member of Congress here

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR /REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] support expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for the residents of Puerto Rico. These two pro-work, anti-poverty programs would increase the economic well-being of thousands of low-income Puerto Ricans and reduce migration to the mainland.

Will [YOUR SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME ] publicly support Puerto Rico’s long term economic recovery, working parents and job creation on the island?

BACKGROUND:

Most Puerto Ricans do not currently qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, perhaps the most successful anti-poverty, pro-work program in the history of the United States. Congress should authorize the extension of this program to residents of Puerto Rico, which would lift thousands of working families from poverty.

Also, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) currently applies only to Puerto Rican families with three or more children. Extending the CTC, including its refundable option, to families with 1 or 2 children would provide a much needed boost to approximately 355,000 working families and 440,000 children.

Many Puerto Rican families with children decide to leave the island because of the lack of economic opportunities and ability to provide for their children. This situation has worsened after Hurricane Maria. Statistics compiled by the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico illustrate the dire context that children and their families face. In 2016, more than half of children (56%) were living in poverty, with nearly 4 out of 10 living in extreme poverty. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of children lived in families were a parent worked at least 50 weeks a year, yet they still lived in poverty or near poverty.

Together, these two programs would increase the economic well-being of thousands of low-income Puerto Ricans and mitigate post Maria migration to the mainland.

Puerto Ricans pay their fair share of tax dollars in the form of Federal payroll taxes, business taxes, and estate taxes just not on salaries or income derived on the island. There are precedents within the CTC itself to extend tax credits to Puerto Rico for the purposes of economic development.

Source: Advocacy for the Resilient Rebuild of Puerto Rico, Center for a New Economy.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico Releases Final Report

Instituto Desarrollo Juventud

DEMAND THAT FEDERAL FUNDING BE USED TO BUILD A MORE SUSTAINABLE, COST-EFFECTIVE & SUSTAINABLE GRID FOR PUERTO RICO

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators and Representative. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

Or find your Member of Congress Here

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].
I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR /REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] direct FEMA and other federal agencies to rebuild a better electrical grid for Puerto Rico in the upcoming hurricane relief bill. Federal agencies must not waste taxpayer money rebuilding the unreliable, inefficient, and expensive electricity grid that existed prior to the hurricanes. Puerto Rico needs a resilient, cost-effective, and sustainable grid.

Will [YOUR SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME ] publicly direct federal agencies to #RebuildBetter?”

BACKGROUND:

Hurricanes Irma and Maria took a catastrophic toll on Puerto Rico’s electricity system. Two thirds of the island remains without power, affecting critical facilities such as hospitals and basic municipal, business, and residential functions. As a result, thousands of businesses have closed and residents have begun fleeing the island.

Funded in large part by FEMA, workers from Puerto Rico and across the United States are working to rebuild the grid. However, under the constraints of the Stafford Act, these crews are directed to rebuild the grid ‘as was’. This process will return the island to an electricity system that uses antiquated generation located far from the population centers, fragile transmission and distribution lines, and limited technological upgrades – leaving Puerto Ricans paying more, getting less, and still exposed to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

The Stafford Act and Emergency Management-related Provisions of the Homeland Security Act

The Bad Decision That Will Haunt Puerto Rico For Decades

DEMAND THAT PUERTO RICO IS INCLUDED IN THE NEXT DISASTER SUPPLEMENTAL BILL

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators and Representative. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message.

Or find your Member of Congress Here

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR /REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] make sure that Puerto Rico is included in the upcoming disaster supplemental bill. There is work currently underway to assess damages before the end of the year that would make it clear that Puerto Rico, and the 3.4 million US citizens that live there, will need broad support to rebuild its infrastructure, stimulate its economy and attend to basic human needs. This help is needed now, not later. Puerto Rico CANNOT be left out of the upcoming relief bill.

Will [YOUR SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME ] publicly support the inclusion of Puerto Rico in the upcoming disaster supplemental bill?

BACKGROUND:

After the last disaster relief supplemental* bill, which only included a $4.9 billion LOAN to Puerto Rico, the White House promised that Congress would receive a request this month for a new round of disaster aid for communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and western wildfires. However, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently indicated that additional disaster-relief requests will only follow after assessments are completed. Texas and Florida, which were affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, have already completed their damage assessments and are keen to get additional funding as soon as possible. Although Puerto Rico is still awaiting preliminary damage assessments, insured and uninsured losses already escalate to $95 billion (Moody’s).

Rumors on Capitol Hill are that Congress may soon introduce a follow-on disaster relief supplemental* bill that only includes Texas and Florida. This would be tragic for Puerto Rico, whose people are in desperate need right now.

The upcoming disaster supplemental* bill may be Puerto Rico’s last chance to get the funding it needs to rebuild its infrastructure, stimulate the economy, and attend to the basic needs of the 3.4 million US citizens who live there.

*Supplemental bills are voted on outside the regular budget procedures when extraordinary situations arise that call for additional funding for federal government services. The impacts of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and María qualify as extraordinary.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Disaster relief bill clears major hurdle in Senate
Senate Passes Hurricane Relief Bill Granting Puerto Rico Loans
Hurricane Maria could be a $95 billion storm for Puerto Rico
The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

WHAT TO ASK BEFORE YOU DONATE TO ORGANIZATIONS POST-HURRICANE MARÍA

It’s been 44 days since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and there are still many people in need of basic supplies, medicine and housing. Nonprofits are stepping to the plate, but how can you make sure that the your donations to these organizations translate into action on the ground? Below are 10 things you should consider before making a donation. Thank you Imanol E. Caballero for allowing us to share this translation of his article.

Things To Consider Before You Donate to Organizations Post-Hurricane María. Author: Imanol E. Caballero

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, thousands of people have asked each other how best to help, where to send relief supplies, what supplies to send, who to donate to and who to trust. Dozens of new initiatives, with good intentions, have been created to meet the needs on the island. Artists and politicians have called for donations to various organizations they are backing. But, what are the must-haves for entities to ensure a donor’s intentions translate to action on the ground? It is important, beyond the good-faith efforts of the entity that promotes the drive or fundraiser, that the organization has community-based contacts and that it abides by basic principles of transparency and accountability recognized by expert organizations. It is not enough to “promise” that money or donations will arrive and will be used properly.

It is common to raise large amounts of money after a humanitarian crisis. As an example, according to the United Nations, between 2010-2012, approximately $ 6.04 billion was raised in humanitarian aid for the recovery of Haiti, but the results in the end were questionable. Since then, there has been an arduous debate about how to improve the performance of corporate, governmental and non-governmental initiatives borne from natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

What follows are basic principles to consider before you donate or participate in relief and recovery initiatives. Some are relevant for government and non-governmental entities to ensure transparency and avoid mismanagement of funds. They are adapted from the following reports: 1- Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance sponsored by Feinstein Humanitarian Center of Tufts University, Humanitarian Policy Group and Transparency International and 2- Handbook in Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations of Transparency International.

1. Purpose of the Collection/Fundraiser
The organization must communicate how the money or goods will be specifically used beyond general terms such as “For the Recovery of Puerto Rico.” For example: Distribute food to the elderly; impact low-income mothers in a specific region of the island; buy materials for rescuer workers in flooded areas.

2. Long and Short-Term Plan
It is not unusual for entities to lose focus on a project when it is thought there has been impact on the beneficiaries. To address this entities must communicate goal and performance measures up front.

3. Identifying need by region / community
The entity must communicate how it identified the need. A common mistake is to think that different areas or regions have the same need when in fact the needs of different communities, populations, and regions can vary immensely.

4. Publication of revenues and expenditure reports
The organization must routinely publish income and expenditures of the initiative to satisfy public scrutiny. To this end, they must audit using an independent entity. The report should explain the criteria used in the analysis.

5. Collections/drives must routinely publish the following:
a. Inventories of products received and distributed
b. Destination of donations
c. Day and time supplies were sent and received
d. Individuals / community leaders or government agencies that received supplies

6. Community validation
The organization must have community support. Communities have their ear to the ground and can validate if in fact the actions taken by the entity correlate with the goals communicated to donors.
a. The organization should promote open discussion between beneficiaries and donors through social events, chats, teleconference calls, and other.
b. The entity must publish minutes on the decision-making regarding the aid and who is involved in the decisions.

7. Openness to press scrutiny.
The entity must routinely communicate its efforts to the press.

8. Performance Reporting.
Commitment to publish independent reports with findings and recommendations on practices to improve humanitarian aid work or response to natural disasters.
a. The recommendations should incorporate feedback from beneficiaries and donors collected through interviews and research.
b. If a private entity is hired, they must have contracting protocols in place to avoid mismanagement of funds and conflicts of interest. To this end, it is important to have an anti-corruption policy in place for humanitarian aid initiatives. It is not enough to state a ‘zero corruption tolerance’ policy but remain silent when it occurs or not have mechanisms to address it.

9. Have a contact available to answer frequently asked questions.
Have whistleblower protocols in place to receive and respond to complaints of misuse of supplies or mismanagement of money should they occur.

10. Have multisectoral collaboration policies.
Organizations must have collaboration protocols in place to coordinate their efforts with other organizations or the government. Neither government nor NGOs can deal with a humanitarian crisis or disaster response projects on their own. It is a good sign when organizations are endorsed by other organizations or have independent sponsors. The practice of endorsements and technical support networks between organizations should be encouraged.

BELOW ARE FIVE ORGANIZATIONS WITH DIVERSE MISSIONS WHERE YOU CAN PUT THESE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PRACTICE

CALL THE EPA – DEMAND SAFE DRINKING WATER IN PUERTO RICO

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to demand the deployment of enough resources and personnel to ensure that the people of Puerto Rico have access to safe drinkable water.

  1. CALL Region 2 at (877) 251-4575, ask to be transferred to Administrator Pete López’s office.
  2. Email Region 2 Administrator Pete López (lopez.peter@epa.gov) with CC to Deputy Region 2 Administrator Catherine McCabe (mccabe.catherine@epa.gov)

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I am a concerned citizen calling to urgently ask the EPA to deploy more resources and personnel to Puerto Rico to test potable water sources, address Superfund sites, and ensure the safety of the people of Puerto Rico. A public health and environmental crisis looms as desperate people are drawing water from Superfund sites and raw sewage and other pollutants are contaminating water reservoirs. Will the EPA deploy more resources to ensure the safety of 3.4 million U.S. citizens?

Thank you for your time.”

EMAIL SCRIPT:

[Click here to generate the email]

“Dear Administrator Lopez,

My name is [NAME] and I am a concerned citizen writing to urgently ask the EPA to deploy more resources and personnel to Puerto Rico to test potable water sources, address Superfund sites, and ensure the safety of the people of Puerto Rico. A public health and environmental crisis looms as desperate people are drawing water from Superfund sites and raw sewage and other pollutants are contaminating water reservoirs.

Will the EPA deploy more resources to ensure the safety of 3.4 million U.S. citizens?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

[CONCERNED CITIZEN’S NAME]”

BACKGROUND:

The Washington Post, CNN, and other media outlets have reported that citizens in the municipality of Dorado in northern Puerto Rico were drinking water from the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Superfund site. Superfund sites are locations contaminated by hazardous waste and designated by the EPA as candidates for cleanup because they pose a risk to human health and/or the environment. Puerto Rico has 18 Superfund sites throughout the main island and in Vieques. The severe shortage of safe and potable drinking water caused by Hurricane Maria is leading desperate citizens in Puerto Rico to turn to contaminated water sources. To make matters worse, due to the damage to services and infrastructure caused by the storm, raw sewage and other pollutants are contaminating water reservoirs, endangering long-term access to clean water for all Puerto Ricans.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Desperate Puerto Ricans line up for water — at a hazardous-waste site
Search for Superfund Sites Where You Live
Summary of the Clean Water Act 
Raw sewage contaminating waters in Puerto Rico after Maria
EPA Hurricane Maria Update for Sunday, October 15th

CALL THE SENATE – $36.5 BILLION IS IRRESPONSIBLE & NOT ENOUGH

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Repeat tomorrow.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently ask [YOUR SENATOR’S NAME] support increasing the funding on the proposed $36.5 billion emergency supplemental package. Preliminary estimates by Moody’s Analytics indicate that the damages in Puerto Rico alone are approximately $95 billion. Proposing $36.5 billion for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, California, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico is irresponsible and unacceptable.

In recent days, almost a dozen senators from both sides of the aisle have committed to advocate for additional funds. Will [YOUR SENATOR’S NAME] support increasing the funding on the emergency supplemental package?

Thank you for your time.”

BACKGROUND:

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion emergency supplemental package. The request is broken down into: $18.67 billion to continue funding FEMA’s operations of which up to $4.9 billion may be transferred to the Community Disaster Loan Program for direct loans to assist local governments with liquidity, $16 billion for the National Flood Insurance Program, $1.27 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and $576.5 million for the Forest Service. These funds would be distributed amongst Texas, Florida, California, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The bill is now being evaluated by the U.S. Senate.

According to the Fiscal Oversight Board for Puerto Rico, a preliminary report from Moody’s Analytics suggested that the damages caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico could be approximately $95 billion. Twenty-six days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, almost a dozen Senators – from both sides of the aisle – have seen in person the devastation caused in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. Amongst them, Senators Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Johnson, Tim Kaine, Cory Gardner, Bill Nelson, and Marco Rubio. Many of them have committed to advocate for additional emergency supplemental funds for Puerto Rico. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote early this week on this bill.

TELL CONGRESS – $30 BILLION IS IRRESPONSIBLE & NOT ENOUGH

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Congressional Appropriations Committee at 202-225-2771. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Repeat tomorrow.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently ask that the Chairman of the Committee increase the funding on the proposed $29 billion disaster aid package. Moody’s Analytics preliminary estimates indicate that – in Puerto Rico alone – the damages caused by Hurricane Maria are approximately $95 billion. Proposing $29 billion for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico is irresponsible and not enough.

Will the Chairman increase the funding on the disaster aid package?

Thank you for your time.”

BACKGROUND:

Last week, the White House sent to Congress a $29 billion disaster aid package request. The request is broken down into: $13 billion to continue funding FEMA’s operations and $16 billion for the flood insurance program, which benefits hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The disaster aid package request is being assessed in Congress by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. However, according to The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, a preliminary report from Moody’s Analytics suggested that the damages caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico could be approximately $95 billion. For this reason, the $29 billion proposed in the disaster aid package request is not enough.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

The White House Is Planning a $29 Billion Disaster Aid Package
Congressional Appropriations Committee
Chairman of the Committee
The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

REQUEST A CONGRESSIONAL EMERGENCY HEARING ON PUERTO RICO AND U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS RECOVERY EFFORTS

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at 202-225-5074. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Repeat tomorrow.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently ask that Chairman Trey Gowdy hold an emergency hearing about the dire status of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Immediate action by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform could help expedite the federal response to the devastation in these territories and make a significant difference in the lives of the 3.5 American citizens living there.

Will the Chairman authorize this request?

Thank you for your time.”

BACKGROUND:

On Friday, September 29th, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) and Rep. Stacey Plaskett from the U.S. Virgin Islands, sent a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy communicating their grave concerns with the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In addition, they requested that the Committee hold an emergency hearing this week with government officials from the White House, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

In their letter, the Members cited the precedent of the former Republican Chairman, Tom Davis, who led a congressional investigation into the Bush Administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The members wrote, “Oversight now also could help prevent a worsening of the human tragedy that is unfolding and could help ensure that the lessons our Committee identified from past federal responses are implemented by the Trump Administration.”

ASK YOUR SENATORS & REPRESENTATIVES TO REPEAL THE JONES ACT

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators/Congress. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Repeat tomorrow.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR /REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] please joins Senator John McCain and Senator Mike Lee, in supporting a repeal of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico.  The 10-day waiver approved today by the Department of Homeland Security is NOT enough to help the Puerto Rico recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria and to aid the U.S. territory’s long term recovery.  It is unacceptable to continue to force the people of Puerto Rico to pay twice as much for food, clean water, and supplies due to Jones Act requirements.

Will [YOUR SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] publicly support a repeal of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico?

BACKGROUND:

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, requires that any product shipped by water between two U.S. ports must use a ship built in the U.S., owned by Americans, crewed by Americans and flying the American flag. This makes shipping food, clean drinking water, supplies, and infrastructure from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico twice as expensive than it is to ship from other ports in the world.  Today, the Department of Homeland Security approved a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, but this is not enough to help emergency efforts and aid long-term recovery.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

THE OBSCURE LAW THAT SLOWED AID TO PUERTO RICO

THE LAW STRANGLING PUERTO RICO 

GAO REPORT 2013

REQUEST TO REPEAL THE JONES ACT

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators/Congress. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Repeat tomorrow.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE #].

I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR /REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] please joins Senator John McCain, in supporting a repeal of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico.

The 10-day waiver approved today by DHS is NOT enough to help the Puerto Rico recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria and to aid the U.S. territory’s emergency and long term recovery. It is unacceptable to continue to force the people of Puerto Rico to pay twice as much for food, clean water, and supplies due to Jones Act requirements.

Will [YOUR SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] publicly support a repeal of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico?

BACKGROUND:

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, requires that any product shipped by water between two U.S. ports must use a ship built in the U.S., owned by Americans, crewed by Americans and flying the American flag. This makes shipping food, clean drinking water, supplies, and infrastructure from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico twice as expensive than it is to ship from other ports in the world. Today, the Department of Homeland Security approved a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, but this is not enough to help emergency efforts and aid long-term recovery.

REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ADDITIONAL EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senators/Congress. Fill out the blanks and read the script when the staff answers the phone or leave a voice message. Repeat tomorrow.

SCRIPT:

“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE]. I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR/CONGRESS MEMBER’S NAME] please call FEMA to demand an immediate deployment of additional rescue and relief resources to Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

BACKGROUND:

The situation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is critical. The destruction is comparable to the devastation caused by Katrina. We need to activate all voting U.S. citizens to demand that the federal government, through FEMA, significantly increase its response on the ground – immediately. You are a voting citizen and your voice matters for Puerto Rico right now. Call your Senators and Representative in Congress to help the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico receive the rescue and relief they need. Here is how:

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