Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday unveiled a massive $146 billion “Marshall plan” for Puerto Rico with several other senators. The plan includes immediate relief for the island’s cash-strapped government, billions more for economic development and renewable energy and Medicaid and Medicare parity, a key priority for the island.
“More than two months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, half of the people there—American citizens all—still have no electricity,” Sanders said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
“Many are struggling to get clean drinking water, and more than 100,000 people have left Puerto Rico alone. This is not acceptable, and we are here today to tell the people of Puerto Rico and tell the people of the Virgin Islands that they are not forgotten, they are not alone, and that we intend to do everything possible to rebuild those beautiful islands.”
The far-reaching legislation would grant $62 billion to the governments of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, $27 billion to renovate infrastructure, and $13 billion in additional FEMA funding to rebuild the electric grid “with more modern, resilient technologies,” instead of the Stafford Act’s requirements that the grid be restored to its condition before the storms, according to a summary of the bill from Sanders’s office.
“The bill that Senator Sanders has introduced in the United States Congress is a comprehensive plan that provides the blueprint for the transformation of Puerto Rico,” Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, said in a statement. “Senator Sanders also shows a great deal of respect and faith in us when claiming that the recovery or Puerto Rico must be in Puerto Rican hands.”
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