Chairman Crowley and Rep. Gutiérrez Request Meeting with Defense Secretary Mattis to Discuss Emergency Aid to Puerto Rico

September 28, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. On Wednesday, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) wrote to Defense Secretary James Mattis to request an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis in Puerto Rico.  The Island is still without power, food, fuel, water, and adequate medical supplies a week after Hurricane Maria.  The United States military has aided natural disaster victims in the past – both on domestic soil and foreign soil, While some military resources have already deployed to the Puerto Rico, Crowley and Gutiérrez believe the Department of Defense (DOD) has the capability and capacity to do much more.

In their letter they state:

The U.S. military provided life-saving, heroic support to the people of Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and in 2005 to the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, deploying a Three-Star General to command operations there.  These are but two examples.  We believe the U.S. military is best positioned to save lives, meet immediate needs of the people with food and water, set up a functioning telecommunications system and establish medical triage and emergency medical services.  Our military servicemen and women are the best in the world and their fellow citizens in Puerto Rico need their help desperately.  We would like to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss what the military is currently doing to help Puerto Rico and what more it can and will do in the future.

Both Crowley and Gutiérrez represent districts with significant Puerto Rican populations and Gutiérrez is the U.S.-born child of Puerto Rican migrants.

The Full text of the letter is here: (pdf)