In Emotional Appeal on Behalf of His Constituents, Curbelo Urges Swift Passage of Tax Relief for Hurricane Survivors

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Washington, D.C., September 28, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

While on the House Floor managing debate of legislation that will  provide tax relief for hurricane survivors, Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) urged his colleagues to swiftly pass this much-needed bill. 

“I am the representative of the district that was hit the hardest by Hurricane Irma,” Curbelo said. “Chairman Brady was here, he has been working hard back home to help his community recover while managing his responsibilities here as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He is calling for passage of this legislation that he sponsored. Also putting their names on this legislation, Jenniffer González-Colón, the representative elected by Puerto Ricans on the island to this chamber, she has added her name to this legislation. Also, Stacey Plaskett, a Member of the Minority who represents the Virgin Islands, she has added her name to the amendment to make this legislation even stronger. So the Members representing the districts that were hit the hardest, where people are suffering; and the gentlewoman from New York is absolutely correct. The suffering in Puerto Rico cannot be compared to anything else that we are seeing here on the mainland. Their representative wants to see this legislation passed, but some of our colleagues say is just not good enough so because this is not good enough people should get nothing.

“[To] say that this is not good enough so instead we’ll do nothing is just unacceptable,” Curbelo added. “I urge my colleagues to reconsider because I think it’s important that we send a message of national unity to help those who are hurting. And if we can do more in the future, we will and we should. So Mr. Speaker in closing, I would just thank all of my colleagues that understand how urgent this situation is, how much pain and suffering is being experienced in these communities, and I ask them respectfully to please support this legislation.”

Curbelo opened debate by thanking the many local law enforcement, military, and government agencies for the invaluable assistance they provided their neighbors. In addition, Curbelo thanked non-profit and business groups who have made financial contributions and demonstrated countless acts of kindness that will forever be remembered by those in the Keys.  A video of Curbelo's opening remarks is available here

Curbelo, an original co-sponsor of the legislation, lauded its introduction last week. Following today’s debate, the bill will be voted on in the House tomorrow. The version being voted on includes an amendment from Curbelo that ensures even greater parity to our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico and residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A full transcript of Curbelo's closing remarks is available below. A video of Curbelo's closing remarks is available here.

Curbelo Urges Swift Passage of Tax Relief for Hurricane Survivors
Washington, D.C.
September 27, 2017
https://youtu.be/zfQ2-Qt7m3E

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

“I truly deplore the way some colleagues have decided to politicize such a sensitive, urgent, and important issue. There are people in my community who are suffering, who lost their homes, yet they’re still working hard to help their neighbors rebuild. And for them to find out, that this institution would oppose a measure to help them because some colleagues think is just not good enough. Now you heard them, they recognize there is a lot of good in this package. But it’s not enough. 

“I am the representative of the district that was hit the hardest by Hurricane Irma. Chairman Brady was here, he has been working hard back home to help his community recover while managing his responsibilities here as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He is calling for passage of this legislation that he sponsored. Also putting their names on this legislation, Jenniffer González-Colón, the representative elected by Puerto Ricans on the island to this chamber, she has added her name to this legislation. Also, Stacey Plaskett, a Member of the Minority who represents the Virgin Islands, she has added her name to the amendment to make this legislation even stronger. So the Members representing the districts that were hit the hardest, where people are suffering; and the gentlewoman from New York is absolutely correct. The suffering in Puerto Rico cannot be compared to anything else that we are seeing here on the mainland. Their representative wants to see this legislation passed, but some of our colleagues say is just not good enough so because this is not good enough people should get nothing.

“We wonder, we wonder why so many Americans don’t trust this institution, why so many American are frustrated with the politics in this country.  Because if it isn’t perfect, if it isn’t exactly what I want, then I’m against it.

“Now fortunately, not all the Members of the Minority agree with this.  When we first had this vote on Monday, 26 Democrats voted in favor of the legislation – and I thank them. Not just for me, but on behalf of all my constituents – the people of Florida Keys, South Florida – and of course, people of Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. I thank my Democratic colleagues and all my Republican colleagues that supported this package. And I invite more Members from both parties to support this package today because this is not the time to play political games.

“Now I understand some people here may be frustrated by what happened in the past. I wasn’t here, and I belong to a new generation of Members of this institution and quite frankly, I think none of us, on either side, are interested in re-litigating the old fights and the old debates.  We want to see the solutions for today and tomorrow.

“And the people of Florida, Monroe County, the Florida Keys, Miami-Dade, Texas, Louisiana, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, they need us now. They need this solution now.  Can we do more later?  Absolutely!  And everyone knows that this Chamber and the other will soon consider additional funding for FEMA, much needed funding, and I will support a robust funding package for FEMA because the agency is strained and is working hard to help people all over this country and out in the Atlantic.

“But to say that this is not good enough so instead we’ll do nothing is just unacceptable.  I urge my colleagues to reconsider because I think it’s important that we send a message of national unity to help those who are hurting. And if we can do more in the future, we will and we should. So Mr. Speaker in closing, I would just thank all of my colleagues that understand how urgent this situation is, how much pain and suffering is being experienced in these communities, and I ask them respectfully to please support this legislation.”

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