October 24, 2017
“People kept asking me, no matter where I went, they said, ‘Where is FEMA? Where is the help that we expect from the most powerful and richest nation on the earth in this moment of despair?’”
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
“There is something very fishy about the Whitefish deal. I have been here 25 years and this doesn’t pass the smell test.”
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.”
October 24, 2017
“We are getting nothing that moves us closer to passing the DREAM Act or putting DACA recipients in a safe place and instead we are getting the same old recycled bills from the anti-immigration lobby’s wish list.”
Washington, DC – This morning, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a statement on today’s markup of two bills related to immigration in the Judiciary Committee. One is an agricultural worker bill introduced by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the other is a mandatory E-Verify bill introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Rep.
October 18, 2017
Letter asks for refugee admission increase to 110,000 from 45,000 for Fiscal Year 2018 and expresses concern over reported program changes
Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Juan Vargas (CA-51), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led a letter to President Donald Trump expressing disappointment in his decision to set the presidential determination for refugee admissions at 45,000 for Fiscal Year 2018. The letter urges the President to reconsider his determination and establish a minimum refugee admission level of 110,000 for Fiscal Year 2018. Additionally, the letter expresses concern about the reported changes to the resettlement process to require refugees to meet an assimilation standard. This letter was signed by 121 members of the House of Representatives.
October 17, 2017
“It has been four weeks and some people still don’t have reliable access to water, medicine, or food and I want to see why and what Congress can do.”
This morning at a press conference in Chicago, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) told reporters he was going back to Puerto Rico on Wednesday (10/18) to see for himself what progress is being made in getting relief to the people of Puerto Rico. The Congressman will visit Comerio (in the central highlands) on Thursday and Loiza Aldea (on the northeast coast) on Friday, returning to Chicago on Saturday (10/21). He is flying commercial and some news media from Chicago are planning to accompany him. “It has been four weeks and some people still don’t have reliable access to water, medicine, or food and I want to see why and what Congress can do,” said Rep. Gutiérrez.
October 12, 2017
“How long do we have to stay, Mr. President? Until every Puerto Rican name is taken off of the Vietnam Memorial or erased from the records of Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq. We stay as long as it takes.”
For the second day in a row, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor about Puerto Rico, today responding to Tweets this morning from the President suggesting it was time for FEMA and the U.S. military to pull out of Puerto Rico’s recovery effort. Rep. Gutiérrez responded to the President with a question and an answer: "How long do we have to stay, Mr. President? Until every Puerto Rican name is taken off of the Vietnam Memorial or erased from the records of Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq. We stay as long as it takes."
October 11, 2017
“Our response to Hurricane Maria and the people of Puerto Rico is a national and international embarrassment and tragedy.”
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor today and called for the evacuation from Puerto Rico of the sick, elderly and vulnerable who are at risk because the situation in Puerto Rico has not been stabilized after three weeks. The Congressman spoke Tuesday with Chicago firefighters who volunteered to go to Puerto Rico who report that things are “worse than we are being told.” Citing an article from the New York Times, he said the health care situation is dire and people are dying because of the lack of power, the lack of water, and the inability of clinics and hospitals to keep up with demand. The Congressman said: "Our response to Hurricane Maria and the people of Puerto Rico is a national and international embarrassment and tragedy. Our own citizens in our own Caribbean colonies of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and we have not helped them."
October 9, 2017
“There is bipartisan support in Congress to get this done, and the votes are there. Those serious about solutions need to keep going and deliver what vast majority of Americans support. Now after a few weeks of delay, we know once again that it is up to Republican congressional leaders to decide if they are serious...”
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) released a statement reacting to the release on Sunday of the White House’s principles on immigration, a laundry list of recycled anti-immigration policies the Republicans demand in exchange for sparing 800,000 DACA recipients from deportation. These include funding for the President’s Great Border Wall, reducing legal immigration in half, and further barring or criminalizing immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.
President Trump has acted to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that for five years has allowed young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to come forward, register, submit to a background check, and be allowed to work while designated as the lowest priority for deportation. Advocacy by Rep. Gutiérrez during the Obama Administration was instrumental in compelling the former President to act to protect immigrant youth (the so-called DREAMers) in 2012.
October 5, 2017
“The CFPB is doing exactly what it was designed to do.”
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) released a statement in response to the news that the Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) issued a new rule designed to protect consumers from the predatory practices of payday and car title lenders.
October 5, 2017
“Our fellow American citizens are facing unthinkable tragedies.” – Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09)
On Thursday, a group of Democratic House Members who represent substantial Puerto Rican constituencies in their districts held a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol to discuss what they are hearing from the Puerto Rican communities they represent. In particular, the Members said they are receiving pleas of help from constituents to get sick, elderly and vulnerable loved ones off of the island and to the mainland. At the press conference, they discussed the urgency with which aid is needed in Puerto Rico, but also the need to evacuate people and help them resettle on the mainland if they want to. In total, eight Members of Congress from five states spoke at the press conference and Rep. Darren Soto of Florida, who is one of the four Democrats of Puerto Rican heritage, was called away, but provided a statement for this press release.