12.22.17

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls for Hearings on Health and Education Challenges Facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Following Hurricanes Irma, Maria

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined her colleagues in sending a letter to HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to request that the Committee hold hearings to assess the challenges facing the health and educational systems of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

Noting the extensive damage caused by the hurricanes to the islands' education and public health infrastructures, the letter, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), urged Chairman Alexander to hold hearings to address these issues and to evaluate the relief provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education, both of which fall under the HELP Committee's jurisdiction.

“Given the extent of the damage inflicted upon both territories, as well as the important roles of the departments under this committee's jurisdiction in ongoing hurricane relief efforts, we believe such hearings would be an important part of the Committee's oversight related to hurricane recovery,” the Senators wrote. “Hearings could help ensure that the Senate has a detailed understanding of the health and education challenges facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as an understanding of how Departments under the Committee's purview have provided relief, and how they can improve relief efforts.”

The HELP Committee has not yet held any hearings on how the two territories have been affected by the storms.

Senators Baldwin, Warren and Cassidy were joined by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) in sending the letter.

Full text of the Senators’ letter is available here.