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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Puerto Rico

I was born in Chicago to parents who migrated from Puerto Rico in the 1950’s and I later returned with them to live on the Island in the 1960’s. As a Puerto Rican member of Congress and someone who represents Puerto Ricans in Illinois' 4th Congressional District, I closely follow issues affecting the Island and my constituents with strong ties there.

More on Puerto Rico

December 2, 2017 Press Release
Press Release from Mayor of Chicago: Surpassing its first year goals, the City pledges an additional $1.3 million to support continued legal services for immigrants and refugees in 2018 Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Luis Gutierrez today joined more than 100 elected officials, community leaders and volunteers to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Chicago Legal Protection Fund. The Fund was established to assist thousands of immigrants and refugees in the City who were threatened with deportation in the post-election era.
November 17, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, and Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, co-chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Task Force on Puerto Rico, today released the following statement in response to reports that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would submit a disaster supplemental request of $44 billion to help hurricane affected areas, including Puerto Rico: “Once again the Trump Administration has proven it lacks the will to help Puerto Rico in a comprehensive manner. Puerto Rico is facing a serious humanitarian and economic crisis, and now more than ever the American citizens on the island need our help. This supplemental request fails to provide sufficient funding to help Puerto Rico address immediate needs and set itself on the road to recovery. We also understand that it fails to provide a solution to the potentially devastating Medicaid cliff that is currently facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Moving forward without significant changes will only hinder the Puerto Rican government’s capacity to address the situation on the ground and will contribute to further suffering on the island. We will work with our colleagues in Congress to increase funds in the supplemental and help ensure Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million American citizens have the necessary aid to face this crisis head on. While we understand that OMB plans further supplemental appropriations requests, we believe that more must be done now,” said the co-chairs of the CHC Task Force on Puerto Rico.
November 13, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, and Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, co-chairs of the newly formed Puerto Rico Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, today released the following statement in support of Governor Rossello’s emergency supplemental appropriations request for post Hurricane Maria recovery efforts: “Almost two months after Hurricane Maria, most of Puerto Rico is still in the dark and too many lack access to potable water. While last month’s disaster supplemental was a start in the recovery effort for Puerto Rico, much more needs to be done to help the island address the ongoing crisis in a comprehensive manner. The Governor’s request outlines the scale of assistance that is needed to help Puerto Rico get back on its feet. We are united in our efforts to help the island, and will be doing everything possible to ensure that Puerto Rico fully recovers.”
November 8, 2017 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) participated in a hearing on Tuesday in the House Natural Resources Committee where he asked questions of two senior leaders of the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and management Board, also known as the Junta de Control Fiscal of just the Junta. They were reluctant to answer his questions, to say the least. A video of the Congressman’s questions and answers at the hearing is here: https://youtu.be/-JjLk_tm4bw Today, Rep. Gutiérrez wrote to the Chairman of the Junta José B. Carrión, III to express “outrage and dismay” at the performance of the two officials and request that they be fired immediately.
November 8, 2017 Press Release
This morning on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) reported on his third and latest relief trip to Puerto Rico bringing aid from the people of Chicago to the stricken island. During his trip (Friday 11/3 – Monday 11/6), the Congressman visited several towns, including Jayuya and Loíza where he met with local mayors and community leaders. He brought photographs from his most recent trip to illustrate his floor speech this morning. The Congressman began his remarks by saying “I wish I could report that a lot of progress is being made, but I can’t. It is still a disaster that is a stain on the reputation of the United States.” The first picture was of a group of people by the side of a road near Jayuya washing clothes with spring water in a bucket using a toilet plunger. The Congressman said, “This man is a police officer, but he is learning to make do, just like every other Puerto Rican. Everywhere you go, you see Puerto Ricans making do.”
November 7, 2017 Press Release
At a press conference today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) introduced the Waiver of Emergency Payments Act (WEPA), a bill to eliminate cost-sharing requirements for Puerto Rico for recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Under current law (the Stafford Act that governs FEMA major disaster assistance), Puerto Rico or any U.S. state or territory would be expected to pay up to 25% of the costs to the federal government of disaster relief. In addition, with certain forms of assistance the Administration has the authority to assume a cost share greater than 75% by waiving a percentage of the state or territory cost share, but such waivers are often time limited and rarely dip below 10%. Under WEPA, if enacted, all cost-sharing would be waived for Puerto Rico in handling the current disaster. The bill does not have an assigned bill number as of this writing. “Puerto Rico was in a dire financial strain before Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria and has struggled every day since the storms made landfall,” said Rep. Espaillat. “Puerto Rico is flat out broke and to require the island to pay for its own recovery is simply outrageous and harsh. We introduced this bill as part of our efforts to continue the call for emergency federal assistance to rebuild Puerto Rico and to ensure the island receives the funding it needs and does not have to pay for its own clean up. It’s simply the right thing to do.” “Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get and should not be constrained in asking for help based on what it can pay back, said Rep. Gutiérrez. “The government of Puerto Rico is already controlled by the financial oversight and management board, known as the Junta. Let’s not mess around with payments and waivers; Puerto Rico should be off the hook, period, punto, when it comes to recovery.”
November 3, 2017 Press Release
This morning, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) flew to Puerto Rico for his third relief trip since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September. He will visit towns that are still struggling to recover, meet with Mayors leading the recovery efforts, and deliver direct relief aid from the people of Chicago to Puerto Rico, coordinated by the Puerto Rican Agenda. Saturday he will visit Caguas. On Sunday he will visit Jayuya and meet with Mayor Jorge “Georgie” González Otero. Later Sunday, he will visit with the Sisters of Jesus Mediador (Hermanas de Jesús Mediador) who work with the distressed, homeless and vulnerable in El Volcan, Bayamón. On Monday, the Congressman will return to Loíza to visit Mayor Julia Nazario and meet with Oscar López Rivera, the former political prisoner who is organizing a community reconstruction brigade to help rebuild the island.
October 25, 2017 Press Release
Yesterday, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) wrote to the Attorney General and the FBI Director asking them to investigate the circumstances around the awarding of a $300 million contract to an obscure Montana firm with close ties to President Trump’s campaign for rebuilding the electrical grid in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico. Today, Rep. Gutiérrez spoke on the House floor outlining why he feels the deal with Whitefish Energy appears to be “fishy.” “So what is going on here?” Rep. Gutiérrez said on the House floor. “A tiny company that does not have a track record gets one of the biggest contracts to help rebuild Puerto Rico in a no-bid, out of the ordinary contracting procedure?”
October 24, 2017 Press Release
Fresh back from his second trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane María hit in September, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor about what he saw in the towns of Comerío, Loíza, Toa Baja and Dorado. He told a stark story of an island that has not received the aid it needs and he brought visual aids. He held a package of paper towels, which he said were sent to his office after the President was seen in Puerto Rico throwing rolls of paper towels to hurricane survivors. He also brought three poster-sized blow ups of pictures he had taken in Loíza, Comerío and Toa Baja last week. “Having returned from my second trip to Puerto Rico since the hurricane, I can tell you one thing for sure: We need a lot more than paper towels from the President and this Congress,” Rep. Gutiérrez said.
October 24, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) is calling for an investigation into the news that Whitefish Energy Holdings, a small Montana firm with ties to key Trump Administration officials, was awarded a $300 million contract to construct Puerto Rico’s power grid. As the Daily Beast reported, the company is headed by a major Trump contributor who has close ties to Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, a former Montana Congressman. “There is something very fishy about the Whitefish deal,” the Congressman said. “I have been here 25 years and this doesn’t pass the smell test. I am writing to the Justice Department and the FBI to ask them to investigate how this contract was awarded and why it went to this firm with no connection to Puerto Rico but plenty of connections to the Trump White House.”