Puerto Rico

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, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, 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

April 15, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, in a Natural Resources Committee hearing, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) spoke in support of his legislation with Congresswoman Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR), the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:

April 14, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) joined Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (PR At-Large) in celebrating the first-ever National Borinqueneers Day. The commemorative ceremony recognized the 65th Infantry Regiment’s contributions to the United States Armed Forces, and its representation of Hispanic veterans and soldiers. 

April 2, 2021 Press Release

KISSIMMEE – During a visit to Central Florida Health Care, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) announced the non-profit health corporation will receive $10.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand their COVID-19 vaccination and treatment operations. The resources are part of the American Rescue Plan’s investments to expand access to vaccines in underserved communities.

March 2, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Under the slogan “Fighting for Equality and Democracy for our Fellow Americans,” a group of 51 members in the U.S.

February 2, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) released the following statement after it was announced the Biden Administration plans to release $1.3 billion that was meant to help Puerto Rico rebuild after Hurricane Maria and remove restrictions on another $4.9 billion: 

January 22, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Reps. Darren Soto (FL-09) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to release federal relief funds for Puerto Rico through an Executive Order.

November 4, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) released the following after Puerto Rican's voted for statehood in the November 4 plebiscite: 

September 15, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09), the first Puerto Rican from Florida elected to Congress, introduced a bipartisan House Resolution that would support Puerto Rico’s plebiscite results and call upon Congress and the President to take action in 2021 if Puerto Ricans vote for statehood.

May 22, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) joined Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) in introducing the Amendments to PROMESA Act, which prioritizes funding for public health care, education, safety, pensions and the University of Puerto Rico, creates a publicly funded commission to audit Puerto Rico’s debt and gives the Puerto Rican government the option to discharge unsecured debt if it deems the financial burden excessive to the people of the island.

April 21, 2020 Press Release

This week, Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09) led a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting to include H.R. 5687the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief and Puerto Rico Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, in the next coronavirus relief package.