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House Is Expected to Pass Disaster Relief, Puerto Rico Credit Bill

13 October 2017

The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital city on Thursday lashed out at President Donald Trump after he threatened to cut off aid from the hurricane-struck island.

Just 17% of the US territory has power, according to the island's government.

Puerto Rico and its agencies owe more than $70 billion to creditors.

Rubio said he suggested forming an advisory group during a conversation with Trump on Sunday.

Last week, after visiting the island to view relief efforts, Trump had asked Congress to approve an emergency aid package of US$29 billion for Puerto Rico.

While he noted it was up to "Congress to decide how much to spend", he said: "We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been awesome (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

Although it was free to play in Thursday's game, Chestnut Academy sold baked goods and water with all proceeds going to the victims of Hurricane Maria.

Despite the back and forth, the source echoed White House assurances from press secretary Sarah Sanders that the Trump administration is fully committed to Puerto Rico's recovery from Maria.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers, however, said more money would likely be needed later.

Rubio, who visited Puerto Rico on September 25 to survey hurricane damage, said he was confident the island would get the help it needs in the short term through emergency legislation. But the federal relief effort has also hit problems such as reported hoarding by municipal employees, Tom said, citing it as one reason for the "militarization of the aid operation" in Puerto Rico.

Democratic Representative Nydia Velázquez of NY, which has a large Puerto Rican community, said the relief package was "just the start" of federal aid to the island, where large areas remain without electricity or running water three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The House bill would provide $18.7 billion for FEMA's disaster-relief fund, $16 billion to replenish the nation's flood-insurance program and $576.5 million for wildfire efforts.

The national flood program, which is set to expire on December 8, is meant to help homeowners living in flood-prone areas that private insurers wouldn't cover and is already several million dollars in debt. The fund received a $15 billion injection from Congress in September after Hurricane Harvey and an additional $7 billion on October 1, the start of the federal government's fiscal year.

In its statement, the White House said it urged Congress to adopt reforms to the program to ensure its "long-term financial viability".

Another GOP source who advises the White House defended the President's criticism of Puerto Rico, insisting that the island needs to get its finances in order.

"The president of the United States is tweeting out threats to withdraw assistance, that is an outrage, that is an insult", Velazquez said.

House Is Expected to Pass Disaster Relief, Puerto Rico Credit Bill