President Trump does not want “one more dollar” in relief money to go to Puerto Rico, according to NBC THINK. Instead, he insists that the island has received $91 billion in hurricane assistance funding.
FEMA and independent experts disagree, stating that amount has not been approved by Congress. In fact, $41 billion dollars have been approved, with a fraction of that total having been sent to the island. In response, the administration cites the $91 billion number as the amount expected by the federal government which Puerto Rico will need over the next 50 years.
Consequently, a bill that would fund disaster relief in several states and Puerto Rico is being held up.
There is precedent for similar legislation, including Public Law 110-28, passed two years after Hurricane Katrina in 2007. The law included an extension of cost share waivers to Gulf Coast states impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, Dennis, and Rita.
Puerto Rico, which faced two back-to-back category 5 hurricanes in 2017, has undergone a grueling recovery process.
The federal response, slow and inefficient, was marked by several notable actions by President Trump, including throwing paper towels at survivors, commenting that the hurricane that devastated the island was throwing the federal budget “a little out of whack”, and saying that Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them”.
Nevertheless, despite the difficulty of obtaining relief from FEMA and local government, Puerto Rico has demonstrated its resiliency, as neighbors help neighbors to subsist, rebuild, and survive.