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Nearly Two Years After Hurricane Maria, Lawmakers Still Fighting For Puerto Rico

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Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public Radio
This photo was taken on the road near the Punta Santiago barrio in Humacao, Puerto Rico a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island.

U.S. congressional representatives marked the upcoming two-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria by observing a day of action for Puerto Rico Wednesday in Washington D.C.

On September 20, 2017, the island suffered a direct hit from the Category 5 hurricane. The Puerto Rican government nearly a year later acknowledged that 2,975 people died as a result of the storm. Many others were left in a dire situation.

Lawmakers Wednesday demanded action from the Trump Administration and threw out ideas on how to improve the quality of life on the island -- everything from the implementation of a full-scale recovery effort similar to the Marshall Plan that aided Western Europe after World War II, to representation for Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Congress.

“We are treating the people of Puerto Rican as second-class citizens and there is no way if Puerto Rico had the representation that it needs and deserves in the United States Congress that this government would be withholding money from them,” said Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Senate Democrats like Blumenthal are currently fighting a recent decision by the Trump administration that would divert millions of disaster relief dollars away from Puerto Rico to fund a wall at the United States-Mexico border.

Blumenthal applauded the ‘grace and good humor’ he’s witnessed from the people of Puerto Rico -- even as many still deal with a lack of clean water, poor healthcare, and other issues that continue two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

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