All Oversight Democrats Send Document Request to White House and Agencies on Hurricane Response

May 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2019)—Today, all 24 Democratic Members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to the White House finally seeking documents regarding the Trump Administration’s abominable response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Despite the Oversight Committee’s bipartisan history under Republican Chairman Tom Davis of obtaining tens of thousands of documents from the Bush White House after Hurricane Katrina, Republicans actively blocked all Democratic requests over the past two years while President Trump heaped scorn on the very people who lost thousands of their loved ones,” the Democrats wrote.

“This refusal to conduct credible and bipartisan oversight was a betrayal of our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it was a dangerous failure to learn from the mistakes of the past to prevent them from happening again in the future,” they added.  “The American people—regardless of where they live—expect their government to work as effectively and efficiently as possible, especially in times of disaster.”

Today’s letter was led by Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Subcommittee on the Environment Chairman Harley Rouda, and Rep. Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On September 29, 2017, Cummings and Plaskett asked then-Chairman Trey Gowdy to follow the bipartisan model of former Chairman Tom Davis, who obtained “more than 12,000 pages of documents from the Executive Office of the President” and “almost 6,000 pages of documents” from the Office of the Vice President after Hurricane Katrina.  Unfortunately, Gowdy refused.

On October 11, 2017, Cummings sent his own letter to the White House seeking documents, but the White House has refused to comply.  

Cummings sent follow-up letters to Gowdy on October 26, 2017, October 31, 2017, and September 13, 2018, but Republicans refused to join any requests to the White House and blocked all efforts by Democrats to place the issue on the agenda so Committee Members could debate and vote on the request.

Today, the Democratic Members also sent letters to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding full compliance with previous bipartisan requests for documents that were originally made more than 18 months ago.

Click here to read today’s letter to the White House. 

Click here to read today’s letter to FEMA.

Click here to read today’s letter to HHS.



116th Congress