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Congressman Darren Soto

Representing the 9th District of Florida

Puerto Rico

landfall, Soto pushed for disaster relief from the federal government. He’s been working closely with the Puerto Rican government, including with Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, Jennifer Gonzalez, on numerous legislative plans that support victims and their families.

 Congressman Soto is an original co-sponsor of H.R 4782 “Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2018” that provides additional disaster recovery assistance for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also co-introduced the Humanitarian Disaster Relief Act of 2017 to allow for a temporary waiver of the Jones Act which increased resources for humanitarian relief efforts during the aftermath of the hurricanes.

“Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are in crisis. People are dying and the time for action is now. These are American’s and we can't turn our backs on them.”

Immediately following the Hurricanes, Rep. Soto visited Puerto Rico to assess firsthand the damaged caused on the island. A few months later, he visited the island again alongside Florida Senator Bill Nelson, to visit schools, hospitals, and to evaluate the damage that remained. Following the visits, he launched a Regional Task Force, consisting of Central Florida’s elected officials and leaders, to address the needs of displaced Puerto Rican evacuees in the district. Since Hurricane Maria, more than 400,00 people have relocated to Florida, many who are in need of assistance. Unfortunately, that number keeps rising.

“The reality is that my fellow Puerto Ricans are still arriving in Florida in great numbers, every day. Our state does not have the resources to manage this influx without any help with transition

Rep. Soto has championed numerous issues directly affecting the Puerto Rican community, including increasing federal funding from FEMA, extending the Transitional Shelter Assistance housing program, and easing the integration process for students who have evacuated to the Florida College System and other local schools. Rep. Soto led multiple letters to federal government agencies requesting continued efforts to help Puerto Ricans.  Efforts ranged from housing assistance to oversight on contracts to rebuild the island.

 “There are children who are in the middle of their school year who could be without a home next week, with their families. We keep urging FEMA to approve an extension of the TSA program beyond the current deadline, particularly for those who aren’t eligible for the Direct Lease program”

Rep. Soto will continue fighting for all Puerto Ricans on the island and the newly arrived constituents in Central Florida.

 

Cosponsor

 H.R.3829 — The Uniform Federal Grants for Resilient Infrastructure and Design Act of 2017 or the TUFGRID Act of 2017

To establish a program to provide grants to States, local governments, and electric utilities to make electric infrastructure more resilient to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other major weather-related events.

H.R.260 — Puerto Rico Admission Act

To enable the admission of the territory of Puerto Rico into the Union as a State, and for other purposes.

Humanitarian Disaster Relief Act of 2017

To permit the waiver of Jones Act requirements for humanitarian relief efforts.

H.R.4782 — Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2018

To provide additional disaster recovery assistance for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, and for other purposes.

H.R.798 — Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2017

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide equitable treatment for residents of Puerto Rico with respect to the refundable portion of the child tax credit and to provide the same treatment to families in Puerto Rico with one child or two children that is currently provided to island families with three or more children.

H.R.261 — Puerto Rico Medicare Part B Equality Act

To amend part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to apply deemed enrollment to residents of Puerto Rico. This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to automatically enroll eligible residents of Puerto Rico in Medicare's medical insurance program. Under current law, automatic enrollment applies to eligible residents of the United States, excluding Puerto Rico.

H.R.2530 — Earned Income Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Act of 2017

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make residents of Puerto Rico eligible for the earned income tax credit. This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to make citizens of Puerto Rico eligible for the federal earned income tax credit.

H.R.2531 — Puerto Rico Medicare Part B Equality Act of 2017

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to apply Medicare part B deemed enrollment process to residents of Puerto Rico. This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to automatically enroll eligible residents of Puerto Rico in Medicare's medical insurance program. Under current law, automatic enrollment applies to eligible residents of the United States, excluding Puerto Rico.

H.R.3472 — Puerto Rico Air Cargo Industry Empowerment Act

To amend title 49, United States Code, with respect to air cargo in Puerto Rico, and for other purposes.

H.R.2429 — Puerto Rico Task Force Economic Empowerment Act of 2017

To support businesses in Puerto Rico, improve health funding for Puerto Rico, and promote security in Puerto Rico, and for other purposes.

H.R.2488 —Puerto Rico Small Business Assistance Act of 2017

To provide for small business concerns located in Puerto Rico, and for other purposes.

H.R.4782 — Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2018

To provide additional disaster recovery assistance for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, and for other purposes.

More on Puerto Rico

June 7, 2018 In The News

President Donald Trump praised his administration’s response to last year’s devastating storms even as thousands of Puerto Rican evacuees face eviction from temporary shelters and the island remains partly without power nine months after Hurricane Maria.

Meeting with his Cabinet and disaster agency officials on Wednesday for a briefing on hurricane season, which began June 1, Trump said his administration “leapt into action to coordinate the response” to last year’s storms.

June 6, 2018 In The News

WASHINGTON (Circa) — Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced Wednesday they are preparing legislation to create an independent commission to investigate the federal response to Hurricane Maria, in the wake of new data indicating at least 1,300 more people died in Puerto Rico due to the storm than initially reported.

“The evidence is making it clear, Maria may be one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history,” said Rep. Nydia Velasquez, D-N.Y., at a Capitol Hill press conference.

June 6, 2018 In The News

House Democrats are demanding a hearing on the Trump administration's recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after a Harvard study estimated the island's death toll after Hurricane Maria may be 70 times greater than the government's official tally.  

May 23, 2018 In The News

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Amid the still-not-fixed physical damage to Puerto Rico after two powerful hurricanes hit late last year, the island is in a health care crisis.

April 30, 2018 In The News

 

April 13, 2018 In The News

 

Two Latino politicians spoke at the Marvin Center Thursday about the importance of bipartisanship and diversity in Congress.

April 3, 2018 Press Release

Kissimmee, FL  – In a letter sent today to President Trump, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09) called the federal government’s response to the situation in Puerto Rico “slow, tepid and completely inadequate,” and urged the administration to do more to expedite assistance to people on the island. 

February 7, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C.  U.S. Rep. Darren Soto issued the following statement after news that donation supplies bound for Puerto Rico were contaminated by a rat infestation in the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) Kissimmee office:

January 31, 2018 In The News

January 9, 2018 Press Release

On December 27, 2017, Congressman Darren Soto and Senator Bill Nelson traveled to Puerto Rico to assess recovery efforts 100 days after Hurricane Maria's landfall on the island.

Click here to access the full report.