House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) plans to visit Puerto Rico on Friday to tour the devastation from recent hurricanes, according to his office.
Ryan is planning to lead a five-member bipartisan delegation to see firsthand the destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which caused an estimated tens of billions of dollars in damage and plunged most of the island into darkness since Maria hit in late September.
Ryan will be joined by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who as House Republican Conference chairman ranks fourth in the GOP caucus; House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.); and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Nita M. Lowey (N.Y.). Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R), who is the island’s nonvoting representative in the House, also will be on the trip, Ryan’s office said. The group plans to meet with local officials and emergency responders and hold a news conference.
Ryan’s delegation is at least the third to visit in recent days. Over the weekend, a bipartisan group of senators visited the island to inspect damage. Others, including Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), were among the first to visit to see the island’s devastation firsthand.
Congress is now considering a Trump administration request for at least $30 billion in emergency funding to pay for ongoing hurricane relief missions in Puerto Rico. The money is needed to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund and the National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing limit.
On Monday, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló asked Congress to go beyond the administration’s request, saying his island needs at least another $1.4 billion from community block grants and other federal loan programs to help rebuild the territory’s hospitals, schools and other social programs.