Alaska and Hawaii senators question governors, look for ways to help hurricane hit territories
The governors of two U.S. territories on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello and U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp. The purpose was to give members of the senate Energy and Natural Resources committee an idea of the recovery efforts.
“There is a great deal that is at play I think that our role here as the committee, I think our role here in Congress needs to be very rigorous," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said.
Murkowski led the more three hour long hearing. The committee discussed everything from the controversial Whitefish energy contract to the recovery timeline. It’s been months now since the storms hit.
“There’s going to be a lot of time that we’re going to be dealing with this disaster unfortunately," Murkowski added.
Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) dug into the Whitefish questions. The Montana-based company secured a $300 million contract with Puerto Rico to rebuild their power grid. The governor canceled it amidst scrutiny over corruption allegations.
Hirono asked Rossello if the investigations into Whitefish were continuing and if there is need to prosecute- would they? To both questions Rossello replied, ‘yes’.
“These are issues that are of concern to us because he is coming to us for a lot of aid to fix their power grid and to modernize," Hirono added.
On Monday, Rossello asked for $94.4 billion in additional supplemental aid from Congress to help rebuild the island. So far Congress has approved nearly $5 billion.
“Both Governors of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands made a really strong case for where they are. The Governor of Puerto Rico in particular says they just wanted to be treated like any other state," Hirono said.
While much of the hearing focused on the recovery efforts and where the islands stand today, Congress has yet to take action on the additional funding request.
This, while thousands on the islands continue to struggle for basic necessities nearly two months after the storm.