House passes $36.5B of aid for Puerto Rico, hurricane-hit states

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Trump said earlier Thursday on Twitter that Puerto Rico has a "total lack of accountability" and "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes".

"I would then again say, 'What is enough?' What is the right amount to satisfy whoever says we're not doing enough", he said on "New Day". And he quoted Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist, as saying, "Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making". The legislation set for a vote allows up to $4.9 billion in direct loans to local governments in a bid to ease Puerto Rico's financial crunch.

His broadsides triggered an outcry from Democrats in Washington and officials on the island, which has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago, leaving death and destruction in an unparalleled humanitarian crisis.

"Mr. President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill", Cruz said in a statement.

Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the island last week to offer the US commitment to the island's recovery.

Photo Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan of the Army, the commander of Joint Task Force Puerto Rico, and soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard unloaded critical supplies in Jayuya, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday.


Significant relief efforts remain underway in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, totaling over $1.4 billion this year in disaster recovery money, plus another $1.2 billion this year after Hurricane Matthew last year.

Cruz's comments were likely in response to early morning tweets Thursday from the president, where he said Congress needs to act quickly to provide relief because "FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been awesome (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the United States territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials. The pragmatic solution is to grant Puerto Rico statehood and funnel investment into the island so that its people can benefit from the contributions that they have made to the USA for over a century.

Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), said that those who live on the island "are American citizens and they deserve the federal assistance they need to recover and rebuild". Yet lenders continued to extend credit to Puerto Rico despite its economic struggles, while pension costs strained Puerto Rico's government and its infrastructure deteriorated. For now, it ignores huge demands from the powerful Florida and Texas delegations, which together pressed for some $40 billion more.

FEMA continues relief efforts for even smaller, lower-profile recovery efforts, dropping millions of dollars this year on floods in Iowa from 2008, Tennessee from 2010, North Dakota from 2011 and Colorado from 2013. He has promised that the island will get what it needs.

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