Pelosi pledges to help speed Puerto Rico recovery during visit

Pelosi pledges to help speed Puerto Rico recovery during visit
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans On The Money: Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Dems on trade | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Biden eyes minimum tax for corporations | Fed's top regulator under pressure over Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Virginia moves to suspend Medicaid work rules | Powerful House panel sets 'Medicare for All' hearing | Hospitals sue over Trump price rule | FDA official grilled on vaping policy MORE (D-Calif.) pledged to focus on further recovery efforts for Puerto Rico during a visit to the island territory on Friday.

Pelosi accused the federal government of not honoring its agreement with the island's more than 3 million U.S. citizens while addressing residents and reporters, as reported by The Associated Press.

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“There is a contract with the federal government and people that was not fully honored, in my view,” Pelosi said. “We need perhaps in our legislating, in our advocacy, to find a way to speed things up, to cut red tape, to reduce bureaucratic obstacles ... Time is the most valuable commodity. It makes a big difference in people’s lives.”

“There’s no excuse,” she added.

Pelosi slammed Republicans in Congress for not doing more while hundreds of Puerto Rico's residents remain without power and the island's congressional representative says that at least 28,000 people have been denied aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We are not in power,” Pelosi said, referring to Democrats. “Let’s go forward in a way that does not institute austerity measures, which will do nothing but exacerbate inequality, disparity in income in Puerto Rico.”

House Democrats, according to the AP, are seeking an official investigation into the death count reported by local officials after Hurricane Maria last year. The official death count sits at 64, but independent reports suggest the number could be much higher.

A study from The New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year stated that as many as 5,000 Puerto Ricans could have been killed by last year's storm.