As US House weighs $36.5 billion disaster relief, Trump slams Puerto Rico

As US House weighs $36.5 billion disaster relief, Trump slams Puerto Rico
From Reuters - October 12, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday pushed back against federal aid for Puerto Rico as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to weigh $36.5 billion in emergency relief for the U.S. territory and other hurricane-hit areas as well as fire-ravaged California.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the bipartisan measure that will also provide relief to the storm-struck areas of Florida, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and leaders of both major parties have lauded the bill.

Trump, in several Twitter posts early on Thursday, however, criticized Puerto Rico for a total lack of accountability, saying electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.

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

The bill includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agencys disaster relief fund. Of that amount, $4.9 billion is earmarked for loans to local governments to ensure that the cash-strapped Puerto Rico can keep government programs operating beyond Oct. 31.

Other funds include $576.5 million for the federal governments wildfire control efforts. Some $16 billion would go toward the National Flood Insurance Program to help it cover claims after reaching its borrowing limit.

Once passed by the Republican-led House, the Senate, also controlled by Republicans, is expected to take up the package later this month after it returns from a week-long recess.



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