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Watch: Plaskett Blasts Rep. Tom Rice in Debate About Disaster Funding for U.S. Territories on House Floor

Washington D.C. 𑁋 Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett exchanged some fiery words on the House floor in response to comments by Congressman Hugh Thompson Rice Jr., who represents South Carolina’s 7th congressional district. The debate raised a few eyebrows and caught the attention of some members, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In a tweet, Plaskett said, “Congress has a long historical record of under-funding U.S. territories. If our funding had been equitable from the start we wouldn’t require as much assistance now.”

AOC leaned forward in her seat as the delegate who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands explained that for “almost 100 years ago, when we asked this government to be treated in the same way as others, this government said — you know what — we’ll let you keep your federal taxes and then we won’t have to give you the same amounts of money that the rest of [the states receive].”

“The reason that these things are happening in the territories is because of the underfunding of this body to the territories in ways that does not happen in states throughout this country,” Plaskett said. “There’s no cap on Medicaid in South Carolina.” Plaskett’s comments come as the House passed a $4.7 billion disaster-aid package on Friday as House Democrats pushed to offer assistance to the earthquake-affected island of Puerto Rico.

The White House has indicated that it opposes the aid package and will veto the legislation. The bill also includes tax breaks for residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories that would cost $16 billion over 10 years.